Monday, January 22, 2007

Perata Launches Sentencing Reform Bill

By Chris Thompson
Mon, Jan 22, 2007 at 3:27 PM

Last week, state Senate President and local big boss man Don Perata announced new legislation to revamp California's complex prison sentencing rules, which many believe have resulted in the terrible overcrowding crisis that will cost the state billions of dollars to fix or even maintain. According to the Los Angeles Times, Perata's bill would create a new independent commission, charged with changing the state's sentencing guidelines and given the power to unilaterally implement them, unless the state legislature overrides the commission's decisions.

Many experts agree that one of the main contributors to California's overcrowding problem is determinate sentencing guidelines that keep nonviolent drug offenders, who would otherwise do their time in county jails, stuck in state prisons. The cost to warehouse these prisoners is skyrocketing every day, and the governor's new effort to reform the system is estimated to cost $10.9 billion.

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