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California prison plan praised by Senate leader Darrell Steinberg

April 25, 2012 |  1:21 pm

The state's plan for an extensive overhaul of its long-troubled prison system got a thumbs-up from Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento)
The state's plan for an extensive overhaul of its long-troubled prison system got a thumbs-up from Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) on Wednesday.

"I think it's very good," he said. "It's one of the great achievements of the first year of the Brown administration."

Officials on Monday detailed a plan to reduce prison spending, close a prison in Norco, bring inmates back from out-of-state private facilities and end federal court oversight of inmate healthcare. The plan is possible because the state's inmate population is dropping thanks to realignment -- low-risk offenders are being held at local jails instead of being sent to state lockups.

Steinberg's comments should be encouraging for Gov. Jerry Brown's administration because some of its proposals, such as cutting prison construction plans by billions of dollars, require approval from the Legislature.

Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles) said through a spokesman that he's still reviewing the plan.

The success of the state's plan also hinges on court approval. Although federal judges ordered California to lower its inmate population to about 110,000 inmates by June 2013, Corrections Secretary Matt Cate said Monday that the state wants to raise the limit by 6,000 inmates.

RELATED:

ACLU is critical of state prison realignment

Federal oversight of state prison healthcare to end

Inmate advocates question state's commitment to prison healthcare

-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento
twitter.com@chrismegerian

Photo: An inmate is led through a construction area at the Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

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