California-s 33 prisons are notoriously overcrowded with 161,000 inmates and continual over-spending beyond a $5.3 billion budget. Now Governor Schwarzenegger wants to reduce costs by eliminating the Inspector General, who provides independent oversight on how the prisons are run. That proposal has run into trouble after a scathing report to a federal judge and two days of explosive hearings that ended today in Sacramento. Whistle-blowers say they-re afraid for their jobs and their personal safety. State officials call the problems -appalling.- We get the latest from prison guards, legislators, administrators and a reporter who's been covering the ongoing story for the San Francisco Chronicle.