Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing the early release of more than 20,000 low-risk prison inmates as a way to save money amid a worsening budget crisis.
The Sacramento Bee reported on its Web site Thursday that the governor will ask California lawmakers to authorize the release of certain non-serious, nonviolent offenders. The prisoners would have less than 20 months to go on their terms.
Sex offenders would not be eligible for release under the proposal.
The plan would cut the prison population by 22,159 inmates and save the state $256 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1, the Bee reported. Savings could reach $780 million through 2010.
The proposal also calls for eliminating more than 4,000 prison jobs, most of which would involve guards.
Just an idea being “floated.”
Proving that the ivory tower is phenomenally out of touch with reality, one professor says this plan would be no big deal:
UC Berkeley law professor and corrections expert Franklin Zimring said that in raw numbers, “I don’t know of any” other releases across the country that would match what Schwarzenegger’s administration is proposing.
But he said the proposed 13 percent cut in the prison population – which stood at 172,079 as of Dec. 12 – would be on par with the results of changes in parole policy that Gov. Ronald Reagan imposed in the early 1970s.
“This could be an extraordinarily interesting experiment,” Zimring said. “The nice thing about having a Republican governor do it is that I don’t think there is going to be a firestorm.”