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August 6, 2011

California not yet on track to reduce prison population as much as court ordered

This front-page article in the San Francisco Chronicle, headlined "Report: Prison population reductions insufficient," indicates that California is not yet doing quite enough to reduce its prison population to the levels required by federal court orders.  Here are the details:

Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to keep tens of thousands of low-level offenders in county jails instead of state prisons won't reduce the inmate population enough to fully comply with a federal court order, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office said Friday.

A report released by the analyst's office said the state will likely fall several thousand inmates short of the 34,000-man reduction ordered by the court.  The report urges officials to ask a judge for more time, look at other ways to reduce crowding and consider sending more prisoners to private prisons in other states.  "Asking for a court extension is probably the most important thing," said analyst Paul Golaszewski, the report's author.

A federal judge ruled five years ago that substandard health care in California prisons was leading to the deaths of about 50 inmates a year.  A three-judge panel then appointed a health care receiver to oversee medical care and ordered the state to reduce its prison population.

The state appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in May that California must cut the number of prisoners from 143,500 to 110,000 by 2013.  The state was given a series of benchmarks for that reduction, including an initial deadline of 10,500 fewer inmates by Dec. 27....  Prison officials recently acknowledged that they do not expect to reach that required reduction until Jan. 27.  The analyst's report recommends that the state ask for more time....

State officials believe the plan to move more offenders to county jails, known as realignment, will reduce the state prison inmate population by nearly 40,000 within four years. The report outlines several other ways that state projections might not pan out.  For example, district attorneys might seek more serious charges to keep some offenders out of county jails and in state prisons, the report says.

Still, realignment will "likely" shrink the state prison population by tens of thousands of inmates over the next two years and "will go a long way toward reducing overcrowding in the next several years," the report said.

August 6, 2011 at 11:08 AM | Permalink


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May i ask what the status of the Dodd-Frank wall street reform act 111-203 2b1.1 is. I have a brother in the atlanta georgia federal prison. thanks, richard

Posted by: richard | Aug 7, 2011 8:31:17 AM

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