(From Press Release – Senator Skinner) – State Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, issued the following statement today on the public safety proposals in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2020-21 budget:
“As chair of the Senate’s Public Safety committees, I welcome the governor’s innovative proposals to modernize California’s criminal justice system, including his plan to close a state prison and shutter privately run prisons. I look forward to working with his team to help bring the era of mass incarceration to an end and to enact additional reforms to our prison system.
“With prison and jail suicides at record levels, the governor’s proposal wisely directs funds to focus on education and rehabilitation as well as improvements to mental health and suicide reduction.
“The governor’s budget also proposes to concentrate young offenders into facilities to maximize specialized rehabilitative programming and educational opportunities. Partnering with our California State University system on this expanded education programming, as well as providing prison guards with improved training and counseling services, is a prudent and wise use of state funds.
“County-operated jails have also been in the headlines, not only because of the increase in suicides but also due to reports of deplorable conditions, so I commend the governor’s plan to increase state oversight of our jails.
“I also applaud the governor’s proposal to revise the probation terms for low-level offenders. Many low-level offenders would benefit from programs that, rather than forcing a brief jail stay, instead address addiction, anger management, or mental health. Funding included in the governor’s budget proposal for court-ordered diversion programs and to public defenders to improve legal representation is an important step in the right direction.
“I anticipate and welcome extensive legislative and stakeholder review of all of these proposals by both the Public Safety Committee and the Budget Sub-5 Committee on Corrections, Public Safety and the Judiciary to ensure that California’s 2020-21 budget makes wise investments in our criminal justice programs focused on improving the health and safety of all Californians.”