U.S. Supreme Court will hear California Prison Appeal

| June 16, 2010 | 0 Comments

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The U.S Supreme court has agreed to hear an appeal by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to a ruling by a federal court requiring California to reduce its prison population by about 37,000.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear the case when it reconvenes in October. A ruling is expected by June 2011.

“We continue to believe federal judges do not have the authority to order the early release of prisoners in our state,” Schwarzenegger stated about the appeal.

Last year, a three judge panel of the special federal court determined that California’s’ prisons are so overcrowded that they cannot provide adequate medication and mental health attention, violating rights of the inmates. The ruling included a finding that one inmate was dying “needlessly” every week.

According to Don Specter, head of the Prison Law Office which represents the state’s inmates, Congress has given the federal court the authority to step in after the state has tried but failed to fix the problem.

The governor’s office has devised a plan to include early release of nonviolent offenders, transfers to county jails, transferring some inmates to other states and new prison space construction, but it has not been passed by the California Legislature.

The common concern for all government officials is said to be the overall safety of the public, if this prisoners are in fact released.

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