Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

August 5, 2009


Mike Zapler, San Jose Mercury News - In a decision that could dramatically reshape California's criminal justice system, a panel of federal judges ordered Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state legislators to find ways to cut the prison population by 40,000, or about one-quarter of all inmates.

The ruling was a stark milestone in the years-long saga of two lawsuits charging that California allows inhumane conditions to fester in its prisons because of severe overcrowding. Law-and-order advocates say such cuts would result in inmates being returned to the streets early or being turned over to cash-strapped counties to jail. The Schwarzenegger administration signaled that it would likely appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The three-judge panel gave the governor and lawmakers 45 days to present a plan to cut the inmate population from about 150,000 to 110,000 over two years. The judges delivered a stern message about conditions that are so poor in some prisons that they violate inmates' constitutional rights.

"The medical and mental health care available to inmates in the California prison system is woefully and constitutionally inadequate, and has been for more than a decade," the judges wrote in a 184-page ruling. "Tragically, California's inmates have long been denied even (a) minimal level of medical and mental health care, with consequences that have been serious, and Advertisement often fatal. ... A significant number of inmates have died as a result."

The judges described some prisons operating at nearly 300 percent of capacity, with inmates housed in triple bunk beds placed in gymnasiums and day rooms.


Anonymous Mairead said...

Let the potheads and non-violent traffickers go

August 5, 2009 6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to feel like this is helpful, and it is. But 10,000 is only <.05% of a prison population over 2,000,000. It's kind of underwhelming. It reminds me of the number of jews we 'saved'

August 5, 2009 11:12 PM  
Anonymous robbie said...

California has a prison population of 2 million? That's news to me.

August 6, 2009 7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let my weenie flashers go!

August 6, 2009 5:25 PM  
Anonymous tit for tat said...

Now that the Fed has attached it's leperous lips to the country's last cash and plunged an i.v. into our future, there'll be some hard decisions to make. We're rather in the predicament of downed airline passengers in the Andes-- whom or what shall we feed first, and exactly who is important enough to save. One of my favorite newspaper columns was Mike Royka's column in response to the state's and cities' cash problems after the Reagan assholes tried to legislate balanced budgets. Particularly they wanted to crucify NYC for having the gall to feed and care for the people they'd driven away. So when the Illinois legislature advocated cutting off funds to Chicago, Royka suggested releasing Chicago"s motorcycle gangs against downstate Illinois. I can still hear their howls of hypocrisy, and I'm sure I'll be hearing them again.

August 6, 2009 9:29 PM  

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