California Gov. Jerry Brown announced a $315 million plan to expand prison capacity and avoid a mass release of prisoners.
The proposed legislation, announced jointly on Aug. 27 with Assembly Speaker Jon Perez, Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, and Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, would expand prison capacity in the short-term and require the state to develop longer-term solutions.
The legislation would comply with a federal court order to limit state prison population to 137.5% of capacity by Dec. 31.
"This legislation will protect public safety and give us time to work with public officials and interested parties to make thoughtful changes in the overall criminal justice system," Brown said.
Unless a solution is implemented, the federal ruling would force the early release of tens of thousands of inmates from state prisons.
The legislation would authorize the Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations to lease in-state and out-of-state prison capacity, including county jails, and contract with community corrections facilities, and it would suspend the closure of the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco, Calif.
The legislation, which would sunset in three years, would cost the state up to $315 million to implement.
"While [Tuesday's] announcement helps address the prison crisis in the short term, there's still more work to be done to address the challenges in the criminal justice system," Conway said. "We will continue to work with the Governor and the Speaker to find sustainable solutions that will honor the court's demands, while keeping Californians safe."