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Jerry Brown calls on feds to relinquish hold on state prisons

January 8, 2013 |  9:57 am

Gov. Jerry Brown said the job of reducing the state’s prison population and improving its healthcare system “is now complete” and asked a federal court to relinquish control of the state’s prisons.

“The prison emergency is over in California,” Brown said. “It is now time to return the control of our prison system to California.”

The governor said the courts are now just “nitpicking” over small problems in the state’s correctional facilities.

Brown said he was offering, under protest, a plan to release some prisoners early in order to comply with a court order, but said such a plan was unnecessary.

Brown’s comments came at a Capitol press conference just hours after his administration filed documents with a federal court asking judges to lift their requirement that the state reduce its prison population.

“The overcrowding and health care conditions cited by this court to support its population reduction order are now a distant memory,” the documents filed by the Brown administration said.

“California’s vastly improved prison health care system now provides inmates with superior care that far exceeds the minimum requirements of the Constitution.”

Brown’s announcement comes just two days before he is scheduled to unveil his state spending plan for the 2013-14 fiscal year, which begins on July 1. In 2011, Brown pushed through a massive restructuring of the state’s incarceration system, aimed at housing more criminals in local jails to alleviate overcrowding in state prisons.

Brown will hold another press conference Tuesday afternoon in Los Angeles to discuss his prison plans.

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-- Anthony York in Sacramento

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