U.S. Supreme Court To Hear Case on California Prison Overcrowding
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review whether federal court judges had the authority to order California to reduce its prison population by 40,000 over the next two years to ease overcrowding and improve prison health care conditions, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) requested the court's intervention (Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/15).
Last year, a three-judge panel ruled that the inadequate medical and mental health care in California prisons amounted to "cruel and unusual punishment" under the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (Savage, Los Angeles Times, 6/15).
The panel ordered the state to develop a plan to reduce the inmate population at the state's 33 adult prisons to 137.5% of design capacity. The institutions currently are at 181.6% of design capacity.
The order was stayed pending the Schwarzenegger administration's appeal (Walsh, Sacramento Bee, 6/15).
The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments for the case when it returns for its next term in October (Mintz, San Jose Mercury News, 6/14).
On Monday, KPCC's "KPCC News" reported on the Supreme Court's decision to review California's prison overcrowding case. The segment includes comments from:
- Rachel Arrezola, spokesperson for the Schwarzenegger administration; and
- Don Spector, an attorney with the Prison Law Office (Small, "KPCC News," KPCC, 6/14).