State senators are questioning Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget plan to hike prison spending by $1 billion despite a decrease of 40,000 prisoners.
“Where is the Realignment dividend?”
“When, if ever, will the state be able to reduce prison spending?” Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, asked at a Jan. 27 hearing of the Senate Budget Committee, which he chairs.
“Where is the Realignment dividend?“ added Vice Chair Jim Nielsen, R-Chico, an opponent of Brown’s Realignment plan that shifted responsibility for some low-level crimes from state prisons to county jails.
Leno asked representatives of the Department of Finance why the Brown administration is requesting double the staff at the new health care prison facility in Stockton that provides long-term medical care and mental health treatment to inmates, according to a report by Jim Lindburg of Californians United for a Responsible Budget, who attended the hearing.
Lindburg reported the administration officials replied by saying that the planning of the new medical prison did not allow for the physical plant design of the large number of high acuity beds.
Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, has questioned the Brown administration revenue estimates, which have been a lot lower than state revenue in past years, Lindburg wrote.
Mitchell later said the administration has drawn criticism from others for failing to “restore many of the $15 billion in cuts to safety net programs since the Great Recession.” This is not poverty reduction,” Mitchell declared. “This is poverty maintenance.”