Brown Proposes Cuts to Calif. Prison Budget

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown announced his proposed cuts to the 2011-12 California state budget Monday, including cuts to the state prison system.
The proposed budget includes sending low-level offenders — those who have not committed violent or sexual crimes — to county jails in lieu of state prisons. Legislators rejected a similar proposal during budget negotiations last year. 
The resultant money would go to local governments to increase jail capacity and strengthen county rehabilitation programs, saving an estimated $486 million by the middle of 2012 and $1.4 billion total.
Brown also proposed moving the responsibility of monitoring adult parolees from state to county authorities and cutting prison rehabilitation programs.
California’s Division of Juvenile Justice also came under the chopping block with Brown’s proposal to eliminate the agency by 2014. Money would be redirected to local governments to house juvenile offenders convicted of the most violent crimes, a responsibility that currently rests with the state.
The shift will save $78 million by the middle of 2012 and $250 million total.
A proposed special election in June would determine how much money would go toward the rehabilitation and monitoring of juvenile offenders and from where that money will come. A temporary increase in vehicle licensing fees, which expires in June, currently pays for those services.