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October 22, 2009

"Court rejects governor's plan to solve prison overcrowding"

The title of this post is the headline of this report from the San Jose Mercury News.  Here are the basics on the latest twist and turn in the on-going saga of California prison reform:

A federal court Wednesday rejected Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to solve California's prison overcrowding crisis, giving the state three weeks to devise an alternative or risk an order that seizes control of how more than 40,000 inmates are released from the prison system over the next two years.

In a seven-page ruling, a three-judge panel found the governor's plan for reducing prison overcrowding inadequate. The judges said it failed to comply with their August order requiring the state to come up with a proposal to remove about one-quarter of the more than 150,000 inmates now crammed into California's prisons.

Schwarzenegger and chief prison officials in September responded to the August order with a plan that would reduce the inmate population by only about 20,000 inmates over the next three years, less than half of what was sought by the judges. State officials maintain their plan balanced the need to reduce prison overcrowding with public safety concerns.

But 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Reinhardt, San Francisco U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson and Sacramento U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton found otherwise, and ordered the state to come back with a fresh plan in 21 days. Otherwise, the judges said they would consider alternative plans from lawyers for California's inmates and issue an order that will meet their goal of getting the inmate population down to 137 percent of the prison system's capacity.

Thanks to this post at How Appealing, one can find lots of other major media coverage of this development, as well as  this link to yesterday's order of the three-judge U.S. District Court for the Eastern and Northern Districts of California.

October 22, 2009 at 08:51 AM | Permalink


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"their goal of getting the inmate population down to 137 percent of the prison system's capacity. "

Has Scalia et al opined as to what % constitutes a constitutional violation?

Posted by: . | Oct 22, 2009 9:32:00 AM

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