Bill Text

Bill Information

PDF |Add To My Favorites | print page

SCR-69 Prisoners: overcrowding.(2013-2014)

SHARE THIS:share this bill in Facebookshare this bill in Twitter
SCR69:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2013–2014 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 69


Introduced by Senator Galgiani

August 20, 2013


Relative to prisoners.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SCR 69, as introduced, Galgiani. Prisoners: overcrowding.
This measure would urge the Attorney General to instruct law enforcement agencies to refer to the relevant United States Attorneys’ Offices in this state all firearm, ammunition, and robbery cases for their review before commencing state prosecution. The measure would urge the Attorney General to seek a reduction in the prisoner population in the state prisons of at least 20,000 inmates by shifting these inmates to federal prisons, and report the results of these efforts.
Fiscal Committee: YES  

WHEREAS, In Brown v. Plata (2011) 131 S.Ct. 1910, the United States Supreme Court affirmed a lower federal district court panel’s order that California reduce its prison population by approximately 10,000 inmates; and
WHEREAS, In dissenting from the decisions affirming the order, Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas noted that the release of such a large number of inmates would create serious public safety concerns; and
WHEREAS, The State of California is required to spend hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to house prisoners in private facilities or out of state, or by reopening or building new facilities, thus depriving the people of the state the use of that money for other services; and
WHEREAS, The State of California has an obligation to adopt measures to stabilize and ultimately reduce the factors that have resulted in the increased prison population by, among other things, the adoption of substance abuse treatment measures, mental health care, and other measures that do not compromise public safety; and
WHEREAS, The Legislature and the voters have taken steps to reform the state’s sentencing practices and increase prison capacity through numerous measures, and making these adjustments, including measures to reduce recidivism and to prevent crime, will take several years; and
WHEREAS, The State of California is a “donor” state to the United States Treasury, in that California pays far more in taxes to the United States Treasury than it receives in federal expenditures and grants; and
WHEREAS, A large number of prisoners within the California prison system have also committed violations of federal law, such as being a “prohibited person” in violation of ammunition or firearms laws, or violating the Hobbs Act, and under federal sentencing guidelines, the Armed Career Criminal Act, and the “3 Strikes and You’re Out” law, federal sentences imposed and served for these and other crimes meet or exceed sentences imposed under California law; and
WHEREAS, In the prosecution of violations of federal firearms laws, Hobbs Act violations, and other federal crime provisions, the United States Attorney’s Offices in the Central and Eastern Districts of California rank near the bottom in the number of prosecutions for the 93 United States District Courts, despite the fact there is no indication that these two districts have an inordinately low number of cases subject to prosecution under those laws compared to other districts; and
WHEREAS, Pursuant to Section 13 of Article V of the California Constitution, subject to the powers and duties of the Governor, the Attorney General is the chief law officer of the state, and has direct supervision over every district attorney and sheriff and over those other law enforcement officers as may be designated by law in all matters pertaining to the duties of their respective offices; and
WHEREAS, The current state prison overcrowding is the direct result of federal authorities creating the circumstances where the overcrowding now exists, resulting in the need for extraordinary measures being taken to prevent the release of a large number of dangerous offenders into society; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate of the State of California, the Assembly thereof concurring, That the Legislature hereby urges the Attorney General in her supervisory capacity to instruct all law enforcement agencies within the state to create procedures that require all law enforcement agencies to first refer to the relevant United States Attorney’s Offices in this state all firearm, ammunition, and robbery cases for their review before commencing state prosecution; and be it further
Resolved, That the Legislature hereby urges the Attorney General to seek the reduction of the state’s prison population by at least 20,000 inmates by shifting these present and future offenders into the federal prison system, thus giving the state sufficient time to address the order of the federal district court and to “right size” and reform the state’s prison system; and be it further
Resolved, That the Legislature urges the Attorney General to report the results of this procedure to the Legislature with detailed statistics as to the results of this procedure by county District Attorneys and United States Attorneys’ Offices; and be it further
Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this resolution to the Attorney General of the State of California, the Governor of the State of California, all 58 county District Attorneys within the State of California, the President and Vice President of the United States, the Attorney General of the United States, and all United States Attorneys’ Offices within the State of California.