CHINO, CA - AUGUST 19: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) tours the California Institution for Men prison with Warden Aref Fakhoury (L) on August 19, 2009 in Chino, California. After touring the prison where a riot took place on August 8th, Schwarzenegger said that the prison system is collapsing and needs to be reformed. (Photo by Michal Czerwonka/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Arnold Schwarzenegger;Aref Fakhoury
The proposal is a holdover from the budget debate earlier this summer when lawmakers closed a massive deficit, they agreed to cut $1.2 billion from the prison system without saying how to do it.
Schwarzenegger's plan has long-range implications for how criminals are sentenced in California, drawing criticism from Republicans who say it will lead to more dangerous felons on the street.
If approved by the Senate and Assembly, the governor's proposal would release or divert from state prisons 27,000 inmates in the current fiscal year and another 10,000 in the fiscal year that begins next July.