Assembly Democrats Buckle on Prison Reform


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Democrats in the state Assembly, afraid of being labeled soft on crime, bowed to pressure from law-enforcement groups and gutted the governor's plan to lessen California's badly overcrowded prison population by 27,000 inmates over the next two years. The Assembly Dems, who are apparently worried about their future political careers, wouldn't go along with Schwarzenegger's plan to allow early release for sick and elderly prisoners, to change some non-violent felonies to misdemeanors, and to increase the grand theft threshold from $400 to $2,500. As a result, the Assembly's proposal will at most lessen the population by 17,000 - and that's only if prisoners complete certain rehabilitation programs.