“Investing in substance abuse and mental health treatment keeps people out of prison once they leave”
DON THOMPSON, (AP) | San Jose Mercury News
SACRAMENTO, Calif.—The leader of the state Senate on Wednesday backed Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to send thousands of inmates to private prisons rather than free them early to comply with federal court orders…
…Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg insisted that the state should also spend more money on mental health and substance abuse treatment programs that would reduce the prison population in the long run…
Steinberg, D-Sacramento, agreed with the Democratic governor that contracting for prison beds to meet that requirement would be better than freeing a similar number of inmates before they complete their full prison sentences.
The program would be expensive but money could come from unanticipated tax revenues that have been increasing as the economy recovers, Steinberg said.
However, renting prison cells “does not do a single thing to reduce the prison population on a long-term basis,” Steinberg said. “Investing in substance abuse and mental health treatment keeps people out of prison once they leave.”
Brown may not need to ask lawmakers to appropriate money for the prison contracts because the courts have waived state law and the state constitution in ordering the governor to take whatever steps are necessary to reduce the prison population by year's end…(Full text at San Jose Mercury News)