Deadline to Empty Prisons Should Light Fire Under Governor

By EGP Editorial

In failing to cut its prison population by 10,000, the state may be violating the first court ordered deadline to reduce its prison overcrowding.

Absent a budget, the state finds itself with no money to transfer inmates to county jails, or to pay for housing them in those facilities. It appears, given the current budget situation, the state may have few options to meet the deadline.

That does not bode well for local communities.

Rather than risking a court ordered release of felony offenders, state prison authorities should order the immediate release of a requisite number of low-level, non-violent offenders, and prisoners too ill to pose a threat to society to meet the first of four deadlines in November.

By then, we might at last have a budget in place, and tax revenues may have continued their upward climb, providing the necessary funds to meet the state’s financial obligations.

If Governor Jerry Brown and the Corrections Authority are as worried as they are professing that they won’t be able to meet the deadline, then we find it very hard to understand why Brown is saying he “might” request more time to comply with the court order.

Why wait? Shouldn’t Brown already be working on a request for more time, given the position the state finds itself in?

We do not believe the courts relish the idea of releasing dangerous felons into society under their orders, nor do they wish to risk harm to the citizens they have sworn to protect.

But without action from the state, they may follow through on ordering prisoners released.

EGP believes that the state must work quickly to do what is necessary to meet the November court ordered deadlines.

As for the Republican suggestion that the state build more prisons: Hello!! Haven’t they heard the state has no money!

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June 9, 2011  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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