A panel of three federal judges have ordered Governor Jerry Brown to release 9600 California prison inmates by the end of the year. (LA Times) The judges have ruled that the prison system is overcrowded, which violates the Constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.
The above picture of one of the state prisons does look overcrowded to me. I can see why there are two sides to the argument of releasing 8% of the prison population in California.
The Court has ordered that prisoners from a list of “low risk” offenders are to be released. Conversely, Governor Brown is taking every possible avenue to appeal the order and have it overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
A spokesman for the California Police Chiefs Association says that the court order shows, “a complete disregard for the safety of communities across California”. As Covina Police Chief Kim Raney put it, “Pressing for 9,000 more inmates on the streets shows an activist court more concerned with prisoners, than the safety of the communities”.
The California legislature is trying to figure out an alternative. It would include funding for prison expansion. In the meantime, Governor Brown is potentially facing a contempt order, if he does not comply with the mandated release.
What do the voters think? An independent poll was taken to determine how California voters view the early release of low-level, nonviolent offenders. In the poll, sixty-three percent said that they favored the early release. The wrestling match will continue.
And for pic o’ day, a bit of Psalms 23!