Thursday, April 18, 2013

Still too many prisoners in California

Gov. Jerry Brown is fighting the courts, but he should be trying harder to curb inmate overcrowding.

California State Prison-Lancaster

Federal judges rejected Gov. Brown's request that they return control of California's still-overcrowded prison system to the state. Above: Inmates are seen at California State Prison-Lancaster in 2010. (Los Angeles Times / June 10, 20)

It may come as a disappointment to Gov. Jerry Brown — but it certainly should not come as a surprise — that a panel of federal judges rejected his request that they return control of California's still-overcrowded prison system to the state. The network of 33 state prisons continues to hold more than 9,000 inmates beyond the court's mandated cap, and Brown's administration has not presented a realistic plan to eliminate that excess, even though the court has extended the deadline for compliance from June 30 to the end of the year.

Brown is vowing to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, and more power to him. He argues that medical and mental health care provided in California's prisons, recently so abysmal as to be deemed cruel and unusual punishment, is now the nation's best, and perhaps he is right. But even so, the courts can be expected to retain jurisdiction until the target inmate population is reached, and until the justices are assured that new standards of care in the prisons are a permanent part of the institutional
culture and not merely a short break after decades of unconscionable inmate treatment.

Read on....

This is from an LA Times editorial.  Tom

 

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