Accelerate Moves to Reduce Prison Crowding

Post Date: September 29, 2013

(The Modesto Bee Editorial)

Gov. Jerry Brown’s gambit to reduce prison overcrowding by relying solely on more prison capacity has failed. It is time for the governor to abandon his defiance strategy and negotiate a settlement that will end the legal cat-and-mouse over state corrections…

Gov. Brown has yet to answer the long-term question: What’s the end-game? If he agrees to accelerate implementation of the above items, these are still one-time options. California still has a long-term structural imbalance between the number of prisoners going in and prison capacity.

We still have too many being sent to prison for too long a time. Without some kind of permanent reform of our sentencing laws, we will have the same overcrowding problem every five to seven years. The judges also reminded state officials that they must present a “durable solution to the prison crowding problem” by Oct. 21, other than building more prisons and hiring more guards.

Brown clearly is looking over his shoulder to the 2014 elections, where he doesn’t want to appear “soft on crime.” But the judges have made it clear they want to see him settle. The governor would be ill-advised to defy them again. Read more