Stand-Off between the Courts, Governor on Prison Overcrowding
Listen to/Watch entire show:
If Governor Brown doesn't release another 10,000 inmates from overcrowded state prisons, federal judges are threatening to hold him in contempt of court as soon as the end of next week. He says he'll fight all the way to the US Supreme Court, but he's already been there. Two years ago, the justices ruled that the overcrowding was so bad it constituted "cruel and unusual punishment." Brown responded with "realignment," sending some state offenders to county jails.
On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, President Obama promised to shut down Guantánamo Bay, but 166 prisoners are still there. We hear about abusive treatment of prisoners, a recent uprising and a hunger strike. Is Guantánamo a relic of what used to be called "the war on terror?"
Banner image: In 2006, California prisons were forced to house inmates using double and triple bunking in gyms and day rooms. Since then, overcrowding has been reduced by 43,000 inmates, from 200 to 150 percent of capacity. Photo: California Department of Corrections
In 20011, the US Supreme Court ruled that overcrowding in California's prisons was "cruel and unusual punishment" with suicidal inmates held in cages without toilets and with treatment unavailable to the one-third who are mentally ill. The population was 200 percent larger than the prisons were designed for, and the court gave Governor Brown two years to reduce that to 137.5 percent. He created "realignment." Inmates convicted of non-violent, non-sexual or non-serious state crimes are being sent to county jails instead of state prisons, which has cut overcrowding to 150 percent. Brown says is good enough. Now lower courts are threatening to hold him in contempt if he doesn't meet their standard by the end of next week.
- Martin Hoshino: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
- Don Specter: Prison Law Office
- Jerry Powers: Los Angeles County Probation Department
- Karren Lane: Community Coalition
Which Way L.A.? is made possible in part by the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation and the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation.
Engage & Discuss
BROUGHT TO YOU BY