California Senate Budget Subcommittee Vetoes County Jail Subsidy

The California Senate Budget Subcommittee on Public Safety vetoed a $250 million county jail construction subsidy proposed by Governor Jerry Brown. As part of the Governors amended state budget proposal, thesubsidy will suffer the same fate in the California Assembly subcommittee, according to a published report in The Sacramento Bee.

The intended $250 million county jail construction subsidy supplements the current $2.2 billion allocated, since 2008, for county jail design and construction. Over 40 counties are constructing new jails, adding 14,000 beds to the statewide shortage.

Funding originally destined for county jails is now for diversion, re-entry and prevention programs, in an attempt to relieve severe overcrowding, that is plaguing the California correctional system. Legislation passed in California, such as proposition 47 and proposed Senate Bill 966, aim to modify prior drug sentences, to reduce swelling jail populations.

Californians United for Responsible Budget, a network of nearly 75 citizens, and taxpayer groups applauded the California Senate Budget Subcommittee’s rejection of the subsidy. The network is active towards pressing for the reduction of county jail expansion, throughout the State of California.

According to Kim Carter of the Time for Change Foundation in San Bernardino, “This victory reflects the power and will of Californians who are standing against more jails in their counties, but the fight is not over.” She reiterated the objectives of the coalition of groups, ensuring that state legislators vote against further appropriations for county jails.