Newsom Proposes Reducing Prison Populations To Save Money Amid Coronavirus
California governor sends updated budget to state lawmakers
Democrat Governor of California Gavin Newsom proposed a 'shrinking' of the state’s prison population to help save money due to the financial pressure on budgets because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Newsom issued an updated budget to state lawmakers which suggested the closure of two state prisons, with the goal of closing all three state-run juvenile jails.
The governor also sought to increase sentencing credits, which permits inmates to leave prison more quickly.
Newsom also proposed the reduction parole from five years for felonies to a maximum of two years, allowing ex-felons to earn their way off supervision in just a year or 18 months for sex offenders.
Daniel Macallair, the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice Executive Director, praised Newsom's proposals.
“To reduce the number of people in confinement, we need to reduce the institutions of confinement,” Macallair said.
Meanwhile, county officials slammed the proposal, arguing that similar plans failed before.
President of Chief Probation Officers of California, Brian Richart, said inmates “have the most serious needs, which if left unaddressed, pose the most serious risk to our communities.”
But Crime Victims Alliance Director Christine Ward warned the state could reach a tipping point if more criminals are on the streets:
“We’re not talking about your small-time drug dealer. We’re talking about the most serious and violent felons in our state. That’s what’s left in our prisons,” she said.
On Saturday, a central California city defied Newsom's lockdown order by declaring itself a "sanctuary city" that won't enforce the state's measures.
BREAKING: Newsom commutes prison sentences of over a dozen murderers— Neon Nettle (@NeonNettle) March 30, 2020
READ MORE: https://t.co/AeKognV27U
The Californian city of Atwater has declared itself a "sanctuary city for businesses" and will allow reopenings, despite the state's shutdown order.
Business owners will be allowed to open, and openly defy Newsom's stay-at-home order.
Meanwhile, Newsom called on Native American tribal leaders to comply with his lockdown orders on their own land.
“I understand that some tribal governments are planning on reopening casinos on their lands,” Newsom said in the letter.
“This deeply concerns me, and I urge tribal governments to reconsider and instead make those determinations based on how they align with the current local public health conditions and the statewide stage of reopening.”
“I am not asking that tribal governments receive authorization from the state or local governments prior to moving forward with reopening or suggesting that tribal casinos remain closed indefinitely,” the governor said.
Newsom then asked tribal leaders “in the spirit of sovereign-to-sovereign engagement,” they wait until areas next to their land reach stage three of his reopening plan.