Limited state resources creating ‘priorities’ context

Rapidly diminishing state resources are fueling a context of discussing state spending priorities, although maybe not directly. That’s why a discussion about Gov. Brown’s attempt to exit federal court direction on prisons can prompt an ACLU official to link that with public education.

The base story is that the governor argues that there’s no need to do more to reduce California inmate population and that court-installed caps should be listed. In short, the state says improvements have helped even in places never designed for current population levels. It’s an interesting argument, and it has sparked interesting responses.

Says one ACLU official, commenting in the L.A. Times: “Insisting that we maintain a horrendously bloated prison population will only ensure that California remain near the bottom of the nation in per-pupil spending on public education.”  It’s one of several examples of people starting to question state priorities, especially where the justice system is involved.

A panel of three federal judges, presiding over class-action lawsuits over inmate medical, dental and mental health care, will evaluate the argument. Read the L.A. Times report by Paige St. John here.