The judges have ordered California to immediately expand its good time credit program, which allows inmates to get out of prison early. The judges also waived any state or local laws preventing the release of prisoners.
The ruling is part of a decades-long battle regarding prison overcrowding. The judges have ruled numerous times that California must reduce overcrowding by the end of the year. The governor has repeatedly appealed the judges’ rulings.
Plaintiff’s attorney Mike Bien says it’s time for the legal wrangling to end. “There was a trial. They lost. They appealed to the Supreme Court. They lost again. It’s time to comply with the order,” Bien says.
But Brown is still not giving up the fight. He’s issued a statement saying he’ll "seek an immediate stay of this unprecedented order to release almost 10,000 inmates by the end of this year."
Brown runs the risk of being held in contempt by three frustrated judges demanding no further delays. But he has plenty of political support. Lawmakers in both parties and the state associations of counties, Sheriffs, police chiefs and chief probation officers have all issued statements supporting the governor and criticizing the judges.