California Prison Compromise Plan Draws Fire from Social Advocates

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A small group of education, prison and social advocates chanted “education not incarceration” on the steps of the State Capitol in opposition to a compromise plan to prevent the early release of prion inmates.

The plan between Governor Jerry Brown and legislative leaders would seek a delay in a federal court ordered December deadline to release up to 10,000 inmates after years of over crowding that lead to poor health care for inmates. The delay would allow the state to develop and fund programs that would keep people from going to prison.

If the court doesn’t agree to a delay, Governor Brown’s original plan to spend $715 million for more prison space would go into effect.

“If they don’t (agree to the delay) then we go straight to increasing beds and I think that would be disastrous,” said Karen Shain, the policy director for the Women’s Foundation of California who participated in the rally.

Shain believes the prison expansion money is better spent on education programs and social services that help keep people from committing crimes, which is a longer term solution to keeping the prison population down.

Danduvaul Hartwell agrees. He’s been in and out of prison as a result of crimes committed as a drug addict.┬áHe says there a many ex-cons like himself who need and want help to stay out of prison.

“If the money were directed correctly … a lot of us would be able to be re-established back into the workforce,” said Hartwell.

But the bi-partisan group of legislative leaders who agreed to the compromise say building more cells is the only sure way to prevent the release of prisoners in December.

“Our priority is public safety. If that means finding alternative ways to incarcerate people and not letting anymore out on the streets, that’s what we support,” said Assembly Republican leader Connie Conway.

There’s very little time to fine tune the compromise legislation because the legislative session ends in less than a week.

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1 Comment

  • kellespetee

    the department of corrections and rehabilitation does not want to rehabilitate inmates because then they wouldn't have anyone to incarcerate taking themselves out of business!!!……the way our penal system is constructed and funded is based on inmate population they need new customers like any business! keeping the revolving door open is good for their business………california has allot of laws to break for a reason!…..the state is just in between new prisons right now! a budget crisis has prevented them from having the funds to open new prisons! but if they made being in business an easier thing for ex cons in this state 30-40% of inmates would not be there! because the crimes they committed were out of desperation for money due to lack of oppertunity in the state IE; the dept of consumer affairs and the dept of health and human services and the dept of corrections and REHABILITATION strive to keep these people out of business and on welfare! desperate to make a living and feed their families these people do what anyone would do in desperate times! they commit crimes for money because its the only thing they can do!! there are no jobs hiring ex-cons there are no trade licenses available for anyone ever convicted of a felony!! this coupled with a whole lot of laws = inmates!! if they spent more money on rehabilitation programs and made a way for ex-cons to actually gain employment (decent employment) and looked at restructuring the laws in the states consumer affairs dept and atleast look at cases on a case by case basis and start giving these people some oppertunity to start businesses you would see the revolving door close mostly!! BUT REMEMBER THE DEPT OF CORRECTIONS THE DEPT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS AND THE DEPT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES DO NOT WANT THAT!!!! THEY NEED NEW CUSTOMERS!!! AND MORE MONEY!!! i propose one law that would really change everything!!! no employer or state agency may ask any questions about past criminal convictions more than ten years old (accept in cases where the duties of that person involve law enforcement or public service) the u.k has such laws inplace now reguarding spent convictions look it up! it is actually a good law and a great idea to spur economic development and lower incarceration levels!!! lets actually try to rehabilitate these people instead of watching the revolving door and complaining about it! and believe this……….THE DEPT OF CORRECTIONS AND REHABITATION, THE DEPT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES AND THE DEPT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS DO NOT WANT TO REHABILITATE ANYONE!!! THE DEPT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES AND THE DEPT OF CORRECTIONS NEED POPULATION TO GET FUNDING! NO REVOLVING DOOR NO NEW MONEY!!= NO NEW PRISONS=NO NEW WELFARE RECIPIENTS= a better economy and a better life for everyone!!!!!