Courts Push Back on California Prisons

By Bernice Yeung | Crowdfund this with Spot.Us
Part of the Prisons & Public Health news blog

How will California resolve its chronic prison overcrowding problems? With court-imposed deadlines ahead, the answer is as murky as ever.

Sept. 18 Deadline Looms

In August, following class-action litigation filed by California inmates, a federal court found that the state’s prisoners were receiving Constitutionally sub-par health and mental health care because of overcrowding, and issued an order requiring the inmate population to be lowered by more than 40,000 over the next two years.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger filed a motion to delay the order, which the district court denied; a further appeal filed with the U.S. Supreme Court was also turned down last week.

California is now out of appeals, and has no choice but to come up with a plan for reducing the prison population by Friday, September 18.

Budget Battles

Simultaneously, there’s been a lot of back-and-forth on efforts to trim the prison budget by $1.2 billion.

The state senate bill, which Mr. Schwarzenegger supported, would have cut the prison population by 27,000 inmates, by re-categorizing some nonviolent felonies as misdemeanors, and releasing elderly and sick inmates early, among other strategies.

Last week, citing concerns about public safety, the state assembly passed a modified version of the bill that did away with its most controversial portions, including early release (although some nonviolent inmates will still be eligible for early release if they complete rehabilitation programs).

The assembly bill would reduce the prison population by 17,000 and tighten the prison budget by less than $1 billion.

Though last-minute negotiations threatened to derail the bill, California lawmakers agreed to adopt the assembly’s prison bill on Friday, the last day of this year’s legislative session.

The prison bill falls short of the 40,000-inmate reduction required of the state, and how the state plans to meet the federal court order remains to be seen.

2 thoughts on “Courts Push Back on California Prisons

  1. Growing up in the “hood” or as some may call it the Getto, My friends and I learned to play childhood games with the toys that were available to us usually these toys were given to us by someone else, we found them or they were toys we created from sticks, tape and the rubber bands we collected. My favorate toy was the clothes pin-rubber band gun. Literally, you could poke someones eye out with this toy. We played in our yards or the neighbors yards up and down the whole block. We played simple games and most of the time we played nice gamesand played good together. On occaision a argument would begin or someone would slap, trip or punch someone on the arm or in the stomach area and a fist-fight would break out. Fist-fighting usally happened because communication between the two parties involved broke down. When our simple games became complicated, fustrating, no longer fun and fighting words were used someone could yelled out loud “RE- DO”.! We all knew what RE-Do meant. Exactly that. We re-do(re-start) the game all over. We picked new teams many times the very people we were argueing with many times not. If the call of re-do did not work and the fighting countined then we just all went home angry fustrated and talking smack about everybody else; untill the next day. The next day we either forgot about the past argument or we did not care to argue any more. We just wanted to play and we were ready to play. again.

    Today, I say. Calif. Needs to call a “RE-DO” *Release the Fire Camp Inmates. They are low level inmates, they have earned thier gate passes, they are proven hard workers and are No longer a threat or danger to our society.
    *Release the Inmates over 60yrs. whom are infirm, incapacitated, parapelegic, ETC. CDCR is not equipped to house geriatrics ward inmates. Forget about the GPS monitoring devices for these inmates; Forget about putting them in a CDCR hospital program give them to thier families and thier counties, give them medi-cal/Medicare. They are not a threat or danger to our society.
    The time to decide whom to release early is /has run out. As a responsible Calif. Tax paying citzen I call for a “RE-DO”! We must make informed decisions when we release inmates from custody. Not allow political decisions to release the wrong inmates.
    “RE-Do”! Let us begin to start over.

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