Judges Tapped To Consider Prison Population Cap
U.S. District Judge Stephen Reinhardt last week was named to a three-judge panel to consider a population cap on California's prisons in an effort to improve medical and mental health care services for inmates, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The appointment follows an order last week by U.S. District Judges Thelton Henderson and Lawrence Karlton to create the panel.
Reinhardt will join both judges on the panel. Hon. Mary Schroeder, chief judge of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, appointed all three members (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 7/28).
Henderson and Karlton last week ruled that the state's plan (AB 900) to build 53,000 new prison and jail beds would not adequately address underlying problems with the health care and mental health care systems in California's correctional system.
Moreover, Henderson wrote that the law does not take steps to correct shortages of medical or correctional staff at prisons (California Healthline, 7/25).
Bill Maile, spokesperson for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), said the governor on Friday filed appeals challenging the creation of the panel. Schwarzenegger also filed stays asking that the panel not go forward.
Maile said the administration will work with the appointed judges while the appeals are pending and "will show the panel the aggressive efforts being made by the administration to address prison overcrowding, explaining why a prison release order is not necessary" (Sacramento Bee, 7/28).
In his weekly radio address, Schwarzenegger discussed reforms to California's state prisons.
Audio of the address and a Spanish translation are available on the governor's Web site (Office of the Governor, 7/28).