A day after Gov. Jerry Brown proposed a costly plan to send 8,000 California inmates to private prisons and county jails, state senators led by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg offered a cheaper counterproposal to reduce prison overcrowding through laxer sentencing laws and outreach programs to discourage repeat offenses.
The plans come after years of litigation between prisoners' rights advocates and the state over the constitutional adequacy of living conditions and services to prisoners. Backed by the U.S. Supreme Court, a federal three-judge panel ordered the state to reduce crowding in state prisons.
"I would venture to say that the Steinberg proposal is much more along the lines of what the federal courts intended when they wanted overcrowding to be alleviated," she said.
Either plan must be approved by the Legislature before the end of the session on Sept. 13.
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