Steinberg Ties Mental Health Spending to Prison Capacity Vote

Published On : 8/8/2013 8:42 AM
By : Ben Adler
From : CCN
Categories : Local, State

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Democratic Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg says if California must spend money increasing its prison capacity to comply with a federal court order, it should also invest in mental health and substance abuse programs.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

Democratic Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg says if California must spend money increasing its prison capacity to comply with a federal court order, it should also invest in mental health and substance abuse programs.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.


The courts have told Governor Jerry Brown’s administration to release nearly 10-thousand prisoners by the end of the year.  Corrections officials say that would be a serious threat to public safety, so they’re looking at temporarily housing inmates in county jails and private and out-of-state facilities.  That’s expensive – and would require legislative approval.  Senate President Darrell Steinberg acknowledges the state may have no better choice, but says it doesn’t solve the long-term problem.


“So if the court is going to force us to spend limited public dollars on additional jail capacity, there must be a comparable commitment to investing in mental health and substance abuse treatment to keep people out.”


Steinberg says those programs would help reduce the state’s 75 percent recidivism rate for felons – and that’s how California must reduce its prison population in the long term.


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