Stand-Off between the Courts, Governor on Prison Overcrowding

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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.




Warren Olney