Jerry Brown

While appealing to Supreme Court to make the proposal unnecessary, he asks Legislature for $450 million to move inmates.

By Paige St. John, Los Angeles Times
June 24, 2013, 10:00 p.m.

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown has asked lawmakers for money to move thousands of inmates out of crowded state prisons, even as he appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court to make such a step unnecessary.

The governor sent the Legislature a request for $450 million over the next two years to lease up to 4,100 beds in county jails and private prisons and to continue shipping 8,500 inmates to other states.

He also proposes allowing inmates to earn more credit for time served by working at firefighting camps or completing classes. And he would allow more prisoners to qualify for medical parole or elder release.

The proposed changes are aimed at meeting a federal court order to cut the prison population by 9,600 inmates by the end of the year.

At the same time, one of the federal judges who is demanding that the state ease inmate crowding complicated matters Monday, ordering that thousands of inmates at risk of contracting valley fever be moved out of two prisons afflicted with the deadly fungus.

Brown sent his population-reduction plan — which he has said he does not support — to legislative leaders late last week. The proposal is more detailed than one he filed under protest with the court last month.

A panel of federal judges deemed that proposal inadequate and last week ordered Brown to begin releasing inmates unless he takes other immediate steps to ease overcrowding. On Monday, Brown appealed that release order to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he already is challenging the jurists’ population caps.

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