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Gov. Brown submits plan to ease California prison overcrowding

May 3, 2013 at 10:12 AM   |   Comments

SACRAMENTO, May 3 (UPI) -- California Gov. Jerry Brown's court-ordered plan to ease prison overcrowding includes early release and relocation of some prisoners.

Brown said in his filing, submitted Thursday, that he would ask the Legislature to allow hundreds of prisoners who earn credit for good conduct to be eligible for early release, as well as "low-risk" inmates who are elderly or medically fragile, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

Brown submitted the plan after he was threatened with contempt of court if he kept delaying orders to meet an inmate population cap.

Brown's plan indicated he would seek funding to lease 1,600 private prison beds.

Brown has reduced the inmate population since October 2011, partly by keeping some low-level offenders in county custody instead of state facilities, the Times said. Even so, the state still has in excess of 9,000 prisoners too many to satisfy the courts.

In his filing, Brown repeated his contention that by lowering the prison population by 43,000 inmates in six years, the state "has already achieved a durable remedy," he argued.

The order to ease prison overcrowding is based on humane conditions, the Times said. Courts have agreed with prisoners' lawyers' arguments that the state was providing unconstitutionally poor medical and mental healthcare in facilities with populations well beyond their capacity.

Civil rights advocates said Brown's proposals left them wanting.

"The governor's latest filing proposes some good ideas" for the short term, Allen Hopper, director of criminal justice policy for the American Civil Liberties Union of California, said in a statement. "But it's simply not enough."

Brown plans to appeal the population cap to the U.S. Supreme Court and has hired attorneys in the nation's capital to review the case, the Times said.

Topics: Jerry Brown
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