Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Prison ruling: California prisons must free tens of thousands of inmates to relieve crowding, U.S. Supreme Court says - latimes.com

Prison ruling: California prisons must free tens of thousands of inmates to relieve crowding, U.S. Supreme Court says - latimes.com

Justice Kennedy cites inhumane conditions, while dissenters fear a crime rampage. Gov. Jerry Brown seeks tax hike to fund transfers to county jails as prison officials hope to avoid freeing anyone.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that California must remove tens of thousands of inmates from its prison rolls in the next two years, and state officials vowed to comply, saying they hoped to do so without setting any criminals free.

Administration officials expressed confidence that their plan to shift low-level offenders to county jails and other facilities, already approved by lawmakers, would ease the persistent crowding that the high court said Monday had caused "needless suffering and death" and amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.

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