At a glance: 3 competing plans address California prison crowding
State officials are feuding over three competing proposals to comply with a federal court order by reducing the inmate population in California prisons, including two contradictory plans offered by Gov. Jerry Brown. The Democratic governor previously said the state could not afford to lease additional prison cells, but earlier this week proposed doing just that as a last-minute alternative to releasing 9,600 inmates by the end of the year. Highlights of the three plans:Gov. Jerry Brown's previous proposal, adopted by federal judges: Early parole for sick and elderly inmates. Increase good-conduct credits leading to earlier release for other offenders. Slow the return of inmates in private prisons in other states. Increase the number of inmates in firefighting camps.Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal released Tuesday: No early releases. Spend $315 million ($730 million over two years) to rent cells in private prisons in California and other states, as well as lease vacant county jail cells. Lease a 2,300-bed private prison in Kern County from Corrections Corp. of America and staff it with guards employed by the state. Delay the closure of the 3,500-bed California Rehabilitation Center in Norco.Senate Democrats' proposal, released Wednesday: Negotiate a settlement with inmates' attorneys that includes a three-year delay in the Dec. 31 court-ordered deadline to reduce the prison population to about 110,000 inmates. Create a five-member panel appointed by the governor, inmates' attorneys and the California Supreme Court's chief justice to set a new population cap for state prisons. Fund a $200 million annual grant program, growing to $300 million annually, for counties to offer rehabilitation, drug and mental health treatment to criminals. Appoint an 18-member advisory commission to recommend changes in sentencing laws.