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$8.3M for redesign of Stockton prison facility

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POSTED January 9, 2014 8:47 p.m.




Stockton (AP)  — Gov. Jerry Brown's budget for the coming fiscal year includes several proposals to help comply with a federal court order requiring the state to reduce prison overcrowding by mid-April to improve medical and mental health care for inmates.

It includes spends $8.3 million to redesign the 600-bed Northern California Reentry Facility in Stockton, although it will take more than two years to ready the facility to house male inmates.

It also assists counties that are increasingly handling felons who previously would have been housed in state prisons.

Other prison-related aspects of the budget proposal released Thursday:

— Frees up $81 million for rehabilitation programs that otherwise would be spent to house inmates, if the federal judges grant the two-year extension to meet a court-ordered prison population cap.

— Adds $14 million to fight the smuggling of drugs and other contraband, including cellphones.

— Allocates nearly $65 million for the Department of State Hospitals to help the agency deal with a more violent mentally ill population that increasingly comes from the criminal justice system. A U.S. District judge last year ordered increased federal oversight after finding problems with the department's treatment of mentally ill inmates.

— Gives counties $500 million for new jail space, on top of $500 million that is now being distributed through a competitive grant program. The proposal requires that counties demonstrate they are taking steps to lower their jail populations by freeing more suspects who are awaiting trial.

— Inmates sentenced to more than 10 years in county jails under the state's two-year-old criminal justice realignment law would again serve their time in state prisons. That would increase the prison population by a projected 300 inmates, felons that sheriffs have said they are not equipped to handle. The shift would come only if the state is able to comply with federal judges' prison crowding reduction order.

— Reduces the cost to counties to send local inmates to state-run firefighting camps. Counties have said the current $46 daily rate is too costly. Counties would pay $10 a day for each inmate at a firefighting camp, and $81 each day the inmates are being trained.

— Requires that all felony sentences served in county jails be split between jail time and mandatory supervision, unless a judge concludes that a split sentence is not in the interest of justice.


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