Schwarzenegger: CA Prison System “Collapsing”


California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, after touring the site of a major prison riot 12 days ago, says the state’s prison system is “collapsing under its own weight” and called on lawmakers to make changes that could reduce overcrowding and spending on inmates, reports the Los Angeles Times. The governor and corrections chief Matt Cate walked through the destruction at a housing unit for prisoners at the California Institution for Men in Chino, where 1,300 inmates rioted Aug. 8. The prison housed nearly 6,000 prisoners, twice the number for which it was designed. About 1,200 beds were lost due to the damage, forcing the transfer of inmates to other facilities.
State legislators are to vote today on a plan backed by Schwarzenegger and Democratic leaders that would reduce the prison population by 37,000 over two years through a variety of measures, such as offering house arrest during the last year of an inmate’s sentence and letting inmates earn their way off parole earlier. Republicans say the proposal would endanger public safety.

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