Gov. Jerry Brown is making his opinion clear about the ongoing federal oversight of California's troubled prison system. "It is now time to return control of our prison system to California," he said on Tuesday, in his first news conference of the year. He was even more emphatic when he spoke to our editorial board by phone on Wednesday. "The record that we have now of expert declaration is overwhelming that our system is constitutional," he said.
"It's time for us to move on."
Brown has filed an appeal with the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to eliminate federal oversight. California's prison health care system has been under federal control since 2005, thanks to a once-broken system that had a death rate of an inmate per week. The judges cited California's badly overcrowded prisons as a major reason for the problems, and mandated population ceilings. Now California is approaching compliance, and Brown believes that enough is enough.
Noting that "we don't have a lot of money," Brown said in his press conference that "we can't pour more and more money down the rat hole of incarceration."
To our editorial board, he noted that in its efforts to meet judicial demands, California now spends an average of $16,000 a year on inmate health care - more than triple the national average. "So the idea that we're not doing the constitutional thing here just cannot be true," Brown said……Return California prisons to state control - SFGate