Inmates in California prison system where a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling requires the release of 30,000 prisoners. California has a huge number of men and women incarcerated., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Posted on Mon, May. 23, 2011
Supreme Court agrees thousands of California inmates must be freed
WASHINGTON | The Supreme Court on Monday narrowly endorsed reducing California’s cramped prison population by more than 30,000 inmates to fix sometimes deadly problems in medical care, ruling that federal judges retain enormous power to oversee troubled state prisons.
The court said in a 5-4 decision that the reduction is “required by the Constitution” to correct longstanding violations of inmates’ rights to adequate care for their mental and physical health.
In 2009, the state’s prisons averaged nearly a death a week that might have been prevented or delayed with better medical care.
The order mandates a prison population of no more than 110,000 inmates, still far above the 80,000 the system was designed to hold.
There were more than 143,000 inmates in California’s 33 adult prisons as of May 11, so roughly 33,000 inmates will need to be transferred to other jurisdictions or released.
“The violations have persisted for years. They remain uncorrected,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the court.
The four Democratic appointees joined Kennedy in upholding an order issued by three judges in California.