« Lengthy discussion of "Why Scandinavian Prisons Are Superior" | Main | Does Senator Ted Cruz agree with GOP Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul about the need for federal sentencing reform? »

September 25, 2013

Federal judges give California officials a little more time to unpack overcrowded prisions

As reported in this local piece, headlined "California prisons: Judges give state more time to deal with inmate release order," Governor Jerry Brown and other California officials have succeeded in getting the court-ordered deadline for prison reform pushed back a bit. Here are the basics:

Giving California prison officials a temporary reprieve to deal with the state's overcrowding crisis, a federal court on Tuesday ordered the Brown administration and inmates' lawyers to discuss whether the latest legislative plan will solve the long-running prison problem.

In the order, a special three-judge panel gave the state until the end of January to report back to the court, for now dissolving a December deadline to rid California's prisons of nearly 10,000 more inmates. The judges indicated that the state and inmates' lawyers could ask for further extensions, suggesting the court may be willing to give California more time to end a decades-long legal battle. At the same time, the judges ordered California to stop transferring inmates to private or out-of-state prisons while the latest proposal is considered....

Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature agreed recently to address the court's overcrowding orders by trying to use mental health and drug treatment programs to limit the number of inmates being sent to the state's prisons for new crimes, asking the judges to give the state three more years to meet the latest goals. State officials have said they would otherwise spend more than $300 million to ship inmates to private prisons and prisons in other states if the judges would not agree to that solution.

In Tuesday's order, the judges did not indicate whether they would accept the proposal, but instructed state officials and inmates' advocates to focus on several categories, including elderly and juvenile inmates, immigration violators, the seriously ill and those serving three-strikes sentences.

The order calls for the two sides to meet in the coming months with San Francisco state appeals court Justice Peter Siggins, formerly a top lawyer in the Brown administration. Siggins is expected to report to the judges on the progress of the negotiations in late October....

The federal judges previously found that the state's prisons are so overcrowded that they fail to give inmates adequate medical and mental health care. The court determined there are still enough problems to require the release of more inmates.

September 25, 2013 at 09:34 AM | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451574769e2019aff99266e970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Federal judges give California officials a little more time to unpack overcrowded prisions:

Comments

Ah, the 'rat "judges" strike again. Can anyone defend the order that states that California cannot send prisoners out of state?

This lawless court has been enabled by the "wise [sic] Latina" and the disloyal witch from Harvard. Obama therefore owns this circus and the crimes that have resulted from this court's lawlessness. My sense is that Barack Obama wouldn't want his daughters anywhere near the criminals that have been released as a result of this lawless court's nonsense, but someone's daughters are.

Posted by: federalist | Sep 25, 2013 9:47:55 PM

Yeah, I was wondering where they thought that authority came from. As I understand it there is no right to be imprisoned within the state of conviction.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Sep 26, 2013 11:27:45 AM

federalist and Soronel have this one nailed. The gravamen of the original judgment was that medical conditions were constitutionally deficient because of overcrowding.

There are several ways to relieve overcrowding. One is to release criminals to take up where they left off (which is what most of them do, given the >50% recidivism rate). That would seem less than optimal, unless one is of the view that more crime is a good thing.

A second would be to build more prisons. This would cost a lot of money. Since California borrows to a fare-thee-well for things the governing party there views as important, such as transfer payments to its don't-work-for-a-living constituencies, borrowing would seem to be an option. But we are told (very selectively, of course) that borrowing, at least for new prisons, is a no-no. In any event, it's quite unlikely to happen.

A third option -- the one the court gratuitously blocks -- is sending inmates to other, less crowded facilities. Why any sensible person would view this is a bad idea is mystifying. The answer to overcrowding is to get less crowded, no?

So what's going on? What's actually brewing here is that the curtain is getting pulled back on the true underlying agenda. There was genuine concern about the adverse effects of overcrowding, sure. But hunkering behind that agenda is the broader (and less popular -- that's why it's hiding) ideology.

It's an ideology I've described before: Amerika Stinks, so it's got what's coming to it with more hoodlums on the street. Besides that, they're actually innocent, and were only in to start with because police and prosecutors are Nazis and manufactured the evidence. And even if they weren't exactly innocent, they were convicted on only meth, heroin, PCP offenses, etc., and since we know that drugs should be legalized, their convictions were invalid in A True And Just Society, so they should be out in any event.

Yes, the court's order blocking inmate placement in less crowded prisons is indeed a mystery -- until you remember what the longer-range agenda actually is. Then it all makes sense.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 26, 2013 12:07:33 PM

Federalist, you never tire in your attacks on the "wise [sic] Latina" and the disloyal witch from Harvard." I understand your rage and frustration. I too have been on the losing end of elections and seen judges appointed with whom I vehemently disagree. I too have resorted to ad hominem attacks on such judges. We know that we, not they, reach the right decisions. We know that we, not they, are loyal Americans. If only others would recognize our genius, our intelligence, and our patriotism. We keep waiting and hoping for the day when the world will finally acknowledge our superiority, our greatness, our righteousness. We know that day will come; in the meantime, we must just sit and wait.

Posted by: onlooker | Sep 26, 2013 12:21:11 PM

No Bill, this is about not locking up people unless there is a reason for doing so.

Posted by: Tom McGee | Sep 26, 2013 1:34:29 PM

Mr. McGee,

If that is the reason (and objective) for the judges' order, it is plainly unconstitutional. Their role is to remedy the constitutional injury, not act as a super legislature. If their objective is as you say then a more clear violation of the separation of powers can hardly be imagined.

Posted by: David | Sep 26, 2013 1:57:09 PM

Tom McGee --

"No Bill, this is about not locking up people unless there is a reason for doing so."

That is 100% false. The dispute here is solely about prison overcrowding, not whether there is a reason for the inmates to be in prison ab initio.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 26, 2013 3:38:04 PM

Well i agree this order is retarded and illega. But the order to reduce their numbers was and still is legal. The fact the state does the same thing to every busines in the state proves it legal. Just walk into any business and look for that little "Notice of Occupancy" with a number tells you it is. Just hurts now that someone has done it to them!

I just can't figure out why these fuckups including your latino keep letting this govt off the hook. Or has it finally dawned now that a federal lawsuit has been filed covering the same thing just at the federal prison system which is also running over 137% cap.

Posted by: rodsmith | Sep 27, 2013 12:03:18 AM

Bil Otis--

"That is 100% false. The dispute here is solely about prison overcrowding, not whether there is a reason for the inmates to be in prison ab initio."

Don't be a sucker. Prison overcrowding is just the back door issue.

Posted by: Tom McGee | Sep 27, 2013 1:27:37 PM

Onlooker---note that you don't take me up on the challenge--defend the order. Even Tom McGee won't defend the order--other than to imply that he likes it.

Funny how libs yap about the rule of law, but when it comes time to actually defend things--they won't.

As for me never tiring about Kagan or Sotomayor, once I again, I note that none can actually defend them on the merits. You just whine that I call them names that flow directly from the things they've said or done.

Posted by: federalist | Sep 29, 2013 8:53:53 AM

I understand that some people should have been put away for life but for petty things and using cases before the three strike law even excited that's just beyond me and now since it has been over turned why are they letting people suffer even longer than they should why should they have to go back to court to get out that's just a waste of time and money just let them go

Posted by: CHRISTY MADDEN | Oct 29, 2013 11:16:54 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB