Governor Schwarzenegger hugged Democratic Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez following the vote in the lower house and praised lawmakers’ approval of the bill.
“That here we have two opposing kind of philosophies and they came together and that what is really miraculous and this is nowhere in the United States happening right now.”
The plan calls for adding 53-thousand new beds—eliminating those in areas like prison gyms and classrooms. A federal judge has threatened to cap the inmate population if the state does not act to ease overcrowding. Senate President Pro-Tem Don Perata told reluctant lawmakers that leaves little choice.
“I don’t know that it can get any worse, I know there’s divided opinion maybe we should give it to the federal court. Well, we didn’t get elected to turn stuff over to the federal government. That’s not our job.”
The plan includes money for rehabilitation programs and county jail beds. Critics say the money for education and rehab programs isn’t enough.