Gov. Jerry Brown, laboring under a federal court order to reduce California’s prison population, by nearly 8,000 inmates, proposed Tuesday to spend hundreds of millions of dollars housing those inmates in local lockups and out of state, says the Sacramento Bee. The administration estimated the cost of the plan at $315 million this budget year – just less than one-third of the state’s general fund reserve – and $415 million each of the following two years.
The proposal was met immediately with resistance from liberal advocacy groups and from the Democratic leader of the Senate. It is also a reversal for Brown, who said as recently as January that California’s limited resources are better spent on education and rehabilitation and that there is “enough money in the criminal justice system.” Following a series of legal setbacks and the looming prospect of inmate releases, however, Brown said he had no better choice. He called the plan “sensible.”