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February 10th, 2009
10:47 AM ET

Judges back a one-third reduction in state prison population

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/02/10/california.prisons/art.prisons.gi.jpg]
Michael Rothfeld
Los Angeles Times

A panel of three federal judges, saying overcrowding in state prisons has deprived inmates of their right to adequate health care, tentatively ruled Monday that the state must reduce the population in those lockups by as many as 57,000 people.

The judges issued the decision after a trial in two long-running cases brought by inmates to protest the state of medical and mental health care in the prisons.

Although their order is not final, U.S. District Court Judges Thelton Henderson and Lawrence Karlton and 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Reinhardt effectively told the state that it had lost the trial and would have to make dramatic changes in its prisons unless it could reach a settlement with inmates' lawyers.

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Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Health Care
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Pam W

    I bet if all the people with pot convictions were released, there would be PLENTY of room for the violent BG's.

    The system can't be that stupid, can they?

    February 11, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  2. jarrod

    correct me if am wrongand i may be................but isnt california budget deficit 46 Billion.........the last numbers i saw on the stimulas was 838,000,000,000 divide that up among 50 states and you get 16,760,000,000 they would still be thirty billion short............I tend to beleive we are going about this the wrong way

    February 11, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  3. eual

    well said Mark could not have been better said but keep them in
    the state where they are to get all of this help Bye the way ask the people they committed their crimes against what they think and do they have health and mental care ,do like the cop did in Az. put them in tents put them in pink underclothes . are put them to work on the highways picking up trash the sun might help their health it will sure make them think and this might help their mental health

    February 11, 2009 at 8:04 am |
  4. Big Mark

    simple solution, really

    take all the newly released ex-cons and have them do the illegal immigrants' work like working the crop fields. pay them the minimum wage or whatever the going rate is for the work. if they refuse, airdrop them all into the middle of the Saharrah desert and say: "Hasta La Vista, baby!"

    secondly, all released prisoners should be mandatorily / forcefully castrated/neutered so that they do not return to their rule of law-disrespecting communities and impregnate more poor, uneducated women to continue the cycle of poverty, ignorance, lack of education, and unemployment in these communities of crime culture.

    lastly, most of the criminals would not be able to get healthcare on the streets, so what's the big deal whining and complaining about not getting healthcare in prison?~!?

    another example of our *insane*, upside-down sicko society...

    February 10, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  5. Teresa, OH

    Sounds like a nice plan but... we are already for scrambling for jobs here... now we have to compete with 57000 more? Also, who is going to hire felons? So now what we will do is release these criminals who wont be able to find jobs or HEALTH CARE ( if that was the concern) and they will have learned how to be better criminals.

    Its odd. Not only do our personal lives go in cycles of up and down and errant chaos, but with the economy so is our entire social system and government.

    @Sean: re: you can judge a society by how they treat there prisoners. While that's a nice thought, I think we need to take into consideration how the prisoners BECAME prisoners.

    February 10, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  6. sean brizendine

    anderson those federal judges made the right decision within reason with regards to the california prison system , those prisons are a caldren of racism and hate and extreme violence and anger generally, so the overcrowded conditions just add to the existing problems and compound the dangers, someone once said you can judge a society by how they treat there prisoners.
    "sean in santa rosa"

    February 10, 2009 at 11:27 am |