Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown pitches criminal justice initiative to business leaders

Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at the 91st Annual Sacramento Host Breakfast at the Sacramento Convention Center, a gathering of 1,200 business leaders from throughout the state on Wednesday, May 18, 2016.
Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at the 91st Annual Sacramento Host Breakfast at the Sacramento Convention Center, a gathering of 1,200 business leaders from throughout the state on Wednesday, May 18, 2016. rpench@sacbee.com

With time running out to qualify his initiative for the November ballot, Gov. Jerry Brown pitched the prison and criminal justice overhaul to a crowd of 1,200 business professionals and Capitol insiders Wednesday at the Sacramento Host Committee Breakfast.

“When it comes to giving someone parole or an educational or rehabilitative credit, that’s based on a human judgment of another human being,” Brown said. “It’s that flexibility and that discretion that adds wisdom to a system instead of automatic-pilot mechanistic rigidity.”

Brown’s measure allows certain non-violent felons to seek early parole, permits the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to allot credits to prisoners for good behavior and gives juvenile court judges the power to try a juvenile as an adult after a hearing. In his remarks, Brown noted that he was responsible for the state’s switch to determinate sentencing in 1977.

“One of the beauties of being in government over a 42-year period is you get to make mistakes that you then can correct,” Brown said. “The government best solves problems that it first creates. Now if it’s a real problem in the world, it’s much harder.”

The California Chamber of Commerce and the Sacramento Host Committee sponsored the 91st annual breakfast at the Sacramento Convention Center.

In addition to plugging his criminal justice initiative, Brown continued to warn of future recessions as he promoted austerity in his revised budget plan. The governor also made pitches for his high-speed rail project, water tunnel plans and the state education system in his 30-minute talk.

Editor’s note: This post was updated at 10:15 a.m. May 19 to correct the year of the state’s switch to determinate sentencing.

Taryn Luna: 916-326-5545, @TarynLuna

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