“For those who wanted a quick fix to California’s prison woes, some advice: don’t hold your breath.” So writes John Myers in his Capital Notes blog for KQED. He called Monday’s narrow approval of a watered-down version of prison legislation “prison fix-lite.” It passed with the bare minimum 41 votes. All Republicans voted against it, joined by six Democrats, with three other Dems abstaining.
“The debate felt familiar,” Myers writes. “Republicans insisted that the plan amounts to an early release of thousands of inmates who will be able to then continue their ‘criminality,’ in the words of Assemblymember Jim Nielsen (R-Redding).” The bill eliminated a proposed sentencing commission and a plan for “alternative custody,” essentially moving some inmates from prison to situations like house arrest in an attempt to save money and other resources. These and other deletions mean the prison reform proposal falls short of the mark in budget savings.