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Prison spending gets a boost in budget

January 10, 2011 |  1:07 pm

One place where Gov. Jerry Brown is prepared to spend more is California's chronically overcrowded prisons: the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's budget would climb from $8.9 billion this year to $9.1 billion in the coming budget year under the new governor's plan.

Among the uses of the new funds would be to "fully fund the salary and wages of authorized Correctional Officers" and to "correct for a decline in the number of overtime hours available" to department employees, according Brown's budget summary.

The prison guards union supported Brown with contributions and sponsored attack ads against his Republican rival Meg Whitman during the fall campaign, and their annual convention in Las Vegas last month was one of Brown's first speaking engagements as governor-elect.

The new governor is also proposing keeping more low-level offenders in county jails and eliminating the Division of Juvenile Justice. Over the last decade, authority for most juvenile offenders has been transferred to counties, dropping the number of wards in state custody from 10,000 to 1,300, according to Brown's budget report. The overhead for maintaining the division has not dropped as quickly, however, meaning that it now costs California more than $200,000 per year to hold each of its juvenile offenders.

-- Jack Dolan in Sacramento


Interactive: Try your hand at balancing the state budget

Document: Complete text of Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed budget