California State Treasurer Phil Angelides, who is running against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, says the state’s prison system is suffering a “meltdown” and vowed to declare a state of emergency for corrections if he is elected, the Los Angeles Times reports. Accusing Schwarzenegger of standing by as overcrowding, inmate health care and other problems in the 33 adult prisons worsened, the Democratic nominee released a plan that he said would rescue the $8.2-billion system from collapse.
Angelides said Schwarzenegger’s call for a special legislative session on corrections and the construction of three prisons was an election-year stunt that would yield no lasting results. Schwarzenegger aides said his rival’s plan largely repeated the governor’s ideas for improving the correctional system, which houses 170,000 inmates and supervises more than 151,000 parolees. The debate signals that prisons could be a major issue in the governor’s race. Angelides told the Times he had focused on the prison crisis because it would be one of the most daunting challenges he would face as governor – “equivalent to becoming CEO of a company that has been run into the ground.”