A federal three-judge panel says it appears no agreement will be reached in California’s prison overcrowding case. The state and attorneys for inmates had been in negotiations about how to comply with the court’s order that the prison population be reduced to about 137 percent of capacity.
The judges have now ordered each side to submit their plans to reduce overcrowding. From there the panel will decide whether to grant California a two year extension on meeting the population goals.
In a statement, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Deborah Hoffman said the state would comply with the new order.
“We are hopeful the court will recognize that the state has made significant reforms to our criminal justice system and will allow us an extension so we can build upon these landmark reforms,” Hoffman said.
Attorney Michael Bien represents inmates in the case. He told Capital Public Radio last week his side does not support a two year extension.
“The prisons remain severely overcrowded and dangerous,” Bein said. “Prisons are unable to deliver constitutional medical mental health care. There are substantial problems with crowding that continue. And, what’s very concerning is the population is back edging up.”
In his budget, Brown allocated more than $81 million for recidivism reduction programs. But he said that money will be used to rent additional prison beds if the extension is not granted.
Hearings are being held on the last of four challenges to how California treats mentally ill prisoners.
California has been given a bit more time to negotiate with plaintiffs in a lawsuit over prison overcrowding.
A federal judged ruled that California needs to improve its treatment of mentally ill inmates on death row, but gave state officials flexibility on how to solve the issue.
A California Senator is trying to change the way California prisons use solitary confinement. The move comes after a hunger strike over the practice this past summer.