DA: Drug Reform Could Solve Gov. Jerry Brown's Prison Problem

The scurrying in Sacramento this week — as legislators scramble to meet today's deadline to pass legislation this year — included horse-trading over California's prison crowding.

The state is under federal court order to reduce its prison population and notorious overcrowding, and must find another place for 9,600 people currently behind bars by the end of the year.

Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal was to ship them out-of-state or to private prisons. A “compromise,” cobbled together with state President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, is to beg for an extension — and then spend $315 million on private and out-of-state prisons if the court rejects the extension.

But there is a third way, according to San Francisco's District Attorney George Gascón: Drug reform.

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