Federal Courts Order California Prisons: Increase Space or Release Prisoners

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation already reduced population by 25,000, but federal courts say it's not enough

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    NEWSLETTERS

    California prisons must submit a plan by Thursday to reduce overcrowding, possibly leading to the early release of 9,000 prisoners, officials said Monday, April 29, 2013.

    The U.S. Supreme Court ordered California prisons to present a plan by Thursday to get rid of 9,000 prisoners to aid in the overcrowding problem, officials said Monday.

    Federal courts stated that that population of prisoners should be no more than 137.5 percent of capacity. California prisons are at 149 percent capacity now, so either the prison capacity must be increased or the prisoners must be released.

    “If we built two prisons overnight, we wouldn’t have to reduce prisoner population,” said Jeffrey Callison of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

    The plan could possibly include “rehabbing” an older prison to house the prisoners, giving prisoners good credits to end their sentences early with time served, or to contract with out-of-state prisons to house the inmates.

    “We don’t know what the plan is because it’s still being worked on,” Callison said.

    The California state prison population has been reduced by approximately 25,000 since a court-ordered reduction in 2006. But Callison said it’s “not enough according to the federal courts.”

    Callison also said progress must be made immediately, so if the courts approve the rehabilitation of an older prison, the Department of Corrections must take action.

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