Brown administration vows compliance with Supreme Court prison ruling
Officials with the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown said Monday that California would work to implement a U.S. Supreme Court decision requiring the state to reduce its prison population.
“The state respects the order of the court and will comply,” said Matthew Cate, secretary for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
California now has two weeks to produce a plan that would reduce its prison population by more than 33,000 inmates within two years. Cate said the state could ask a federal three-judge panel for more time to reach the lower inmate number. He said Brown’s proposal to shift thousands of state prisoners to county jails would reduce the state’s prison population by about 30,000 inmates over the next four years.
“It would solve quite a bit of this problem,” he said, but not as quickly as the courts would like.
Cate said the administration hopes to reduce the number of prison inmates without setting any criminals free.
"Our goal is to not release inmates at all," he said, adding that much of the prisoner reduction in the governor’s plan would come from sending parole violators and non-violent offenders to county jails instead of state prisons.
California currently has 143,335 inmates in state prisons. Under the Supreme Court ruling, the state must reduce that population to 109,805 inmates within two years.
-- Anthony York and Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento
Photo: In an undated file photo released by the California Department of Corrections, inmates sit in crowded conditions at the California Institute for Men in Chino, Calif. Credit: California Department of Corrections / Associated Press