The California Senate approved most of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s prison system reorganization plan yesterday and then began slashing the department’s budget out of frustration with the slow pace of reforms in the troubled corrections system, the Associated Press reports. Senators cut $99 million out of the governor’s $7 billion corrections budget.
On Wednesday, an Assembly subcommittee cut corrections spending by tens of millions of dollars, also intending to send a message to prison system administrators. Lawmakers have objected to Schwarzenegger’s proposal to eliminate $95 million from inmate education and other rehabilitation programs. The bipartisan effort to cut the budget was orchestrated by Democratic House Majority Leader Gloria Romero of Los Angeles, a supporter of the Republican governor’s reform promises – and also one of the most vocal prison critics. “You have made mistake after mistake after mistake in everything we have tried to contract,” said Romero, who equated corrections spending to “a black hole” where money disappears without a trace.