SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday held his first Capitol news conference of the new year -- the first since it was announced he had prostate cancer. He tackled the issue of federal control over California's prison system.

Here's a sampling of what Brown had to say about why he filed an appeal with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to eliminate federal oversight of California prisons:

  • "The prison emergency is over in California."

  • "California is a powerful state. We can run our own prisons. And by God, let those judges give us our prisons back. We'll run them right."

  • "We've got hundreds of lawyers wandering around the prisons looking for problems."

  • "We've reduced over 43,000 (inmates). People act like nothing happened. Billions and billions have been spent. ... The prison groups, they actually beat down the great state of California. We've shaped up; we're standing at attention; we're ready to go forward. I've taken their own expert and I've made him head of corrections. So what more do they want?"

  • "Some people say there are not enough dangerous felons on the street; we have another group that says, 'Wait a minute, stop, we've got too many.' I think we've hit the right balance... We have to bring down our prison spending, our correctional costs as we invest more money in our schools and our education."


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  • "If we give in to the extremes, we will either create a threat to public safety or spend billions of dollars more."

  • "We don't have a lot of money. We gotta pay down the wall of debt. We have uncertain economic times. We can't pour more and more money down the rat hole of incarceration. We have to spend as much as we need but no more, and I think we've hit that point."

  • "We've spent billions and billions of money that's not going to child care, that's not going to schools, that's not going to higher ed. It's going to gold plate, at this point, our prisons."

    Contact Steven Harmon at 916-441-2101. Follow him at Twitter.com/ssharmon. Read the Political Blotter at IBAbuzz.com/politics.