California’s overcrowded prisons have “fallen short of minimum constitutional requirements,” causing “needless suffering and death,” according to a 5-4 majority of the U.S. Supreme Court. The state, which imposes draconian sentences on repeat offenders, must now find a way to reduce its prison population by at least 38,000 inmates.
Gov. Jerry Brown hopes to comply with the ruling without actually releasing any offenders. Instead, he plans to offload felons into county jails, though that would take longer than required by the court. —PZS
Los Angeles Times:
California now has two weeks to produce a plan that would reduce its prison population by more than 33,000 inmates within two years. Cate said the state could ask a federal three-judge panel for more time to reach the lower inmate number. He said Brown’s proposal to shift thousands of state prisoners to county jails would reduce the state’s prison population by about 30,000 inmates over the next four years.
“It would solve quite a bit of this problem,” he said, but not as quickly as the courts would like.