Governor's Prison Plan to Get First Hearing

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to trim California's prison population by nearly 30,000 inmates in a cost-saving move will gets its first hearing before the state Legislature.

The proposal is a holdover from the budget debate earlier this summer when lawmakers closed a massive deficit, they agreed to cut $1.2 billion from the prison system without saying how to do it.

Schwarzenegger's plan has long-range implications for how criminals are sentenced in California, drawing criticism from Republicans who say it will lead to more dangerous felons on the street.

If approved by the Senate and Assembly, the governor's proposal would release or divert from state prisons 27,000 inmates in the current fiscal year and another 10,000 in the fiscal year that begins next July.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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