Two Year Deadline Set In Order to Decrease CA Prison Crowding

On February 10, federal judges granted California two more years to reduce its already overcrowded prison population. The ruling comes from a long-running lawsuit to increase inmate medical care in the state. California still sits about 5,000 inmates above the cap that was originally set by the court, which means they must bring their prison population to around 112,000 inmates by February 2016.

The judges affirmed that, “without further action, the prison population is projected to continue to increase and health conditions are likely to continue to worsen”. The judges also said that the continuing delays by the state were only costing taxpayers more and causing inmates to suffer as well.

The two-year time line was put in place to gradually bring the population down rather than move thousands of inmates to private prisons in other states, which would not help solve the over-population. According to a Washington Post article Gov. Brown will increase parole opportunities, and sentence reductions for non-violent criminals.

In a statement released from his office, Gov. Brown called the ruling encouraging, saying, “The state now has the time and resources necessary to help inmates become productive members of society and make our communities safer”.

On the other hand, the attorneys of the inmates were looking for a May 2014 deadline, instead of two years. Don Spector, the director of Prison Law Office, told The Associated Press in statement “We believe that there are substantial constitutional violations continuing right now, which result in prisoners suffering and dying because of prison overcrowding.”

State Sen. Jim Nielsen said in a statement that the state should increase the prison capacity rather than release many violent inmates back into the public.

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