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State Faces Prison Plan Deadline

— Earlier this year three federal judges ruled that prison overcrowding prevents inmates from getting adequate medical and mental health care. They ordered California to reduce its prison population by 44,000.

Prisoners lay on their bunks at California State Prison in Los Angeles County...
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Above: Prisoners lay on their bunks at California State Prison in Los Angeles County, located in the city of Lancaster. (Eds. note: The Department of Corrections said it no longer uses triple bunks in its facilities.)

Over the summer, the Schwarzenegger administration submitted a plan that would reduce the number of prison inmates by half that number.

The judges said the plan was inadequate and vague. They tossed it out, and ordered the state to submit a new plan that will meet their goal of 44,000 fewer inmates. The judges also want a specific timeline for meeting that goal.

The Schwarzenegger administration has said it will comply, but it has refused to disclose details of its new prison population reduction plan in advance. The federal judges have warned that if the new plan isn't good enough, they'll devise one of their own, and force California to put it to work.

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