California’s Newsom proposes shrinking prison population to help state’s budget during coronavirus

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Gov. Gavin Newsom is proposing to reduce the state’s prison population to help with the state’s overburdened budget during the coronavirus pandemic.

Newsom sent a revised budget to state lawmakers this week that envisioned closing two state prisons in the coming years and eventually closing all three state-run juvenile prisons.

The Democratic governor is also seeking unspecified increases to sentencing credits that allow inmates to leave prison more quickly. And he proposes to shorten parole to a maximum of two years, down from five years for felonies, and let ex-felons earn their way off supervision in just a year, or 18 months for sex offenders.

The proposals drew support from reformers. Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice Executive Director Daniel Macallair hailed the long-sought shift.

“To reduce the number of people in confinement, we need to reduce the institutions of confinement,” Macallair said.

But county officials called the new plan unworkable, pointing out that similar proposals have failed before. – READ MORE

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