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Schwarzenegger Looks To Special Session To Solve Prison Problems

Sacramento, CA — It´s no secret that California´s prison system is troubled.

Despite a two decade-long building boom that produced 22 new prisons, the state´s inmate population remains overflowing at 172,000, more than 70 percent over capacity.

Governor Schwarzenegger has called a special session of the Legislature to address wide-ranging prison reform.

Lawmakers will begin to consider his proposals after they return Monday from their summer recess, but many are skeptical of Schwarzenegger´s motives.

Critics say the Republican governor is merely trying to score political points and keep the influential prison guards union happy so it won´t attack him as he faces re-election.

Two of the governor´s top aides face potential federal court subpoenas over the influence the state´s prison guard union has within the administration.

The centerpiece of Schwarzenegger´s special session is a proposal to spend $6 billion to build two prisons and a variety of other inmate lockups that will create space for rehabilitation and training programs.

The governor´s aides say new prisons are needed to solve a number of the system´s most pressing problems. They will relieve overcrowding, create space to provide rehabilitation, job-training and drug-treatment programs to inmates about to be paroled, and help handle a rising tide of prisoners.