All 50 states got a wake-up call this week when the Supreme Court ordered California to aggressively reduce its prison overcrowding. By Michael Doyle; McClatchy Newspapers - 5/24/11 2:43
WASHINGTON — All 50 states got a wake-up call this week when the Supreme Court ordered California to aggressively reduce its prison overcrowding. The court's decision will make it easier for judges to shrink prison populations elsewhere. It also could embolden other challenges to prison conditions well beyond California.
The pair of California cases commonly known as Brown v. Plata dated to a 1990 lawsuit filed by inmates who said mental health care had suffered as a result of overcrowded prisons. A three-judge panel agreed and ordered the state to reduce its prison population to about 110,000, which is 137.5 percent of the prisons' design capacity.
Corcoran State Prison in California's San Joaquin Valley, for instance, is home to infamous characters such as Charles Manson and has a design capacity of 3,116 inmates. It housed 4,900 as of April, 157 percent of its design capacity. Other California facilities, including Mule Creek State Prison near Sacramento and the Deuel Vocational Institution near Stockton, housed twice as many inmates in April as they were built for, state records show. California needs to reduce its overall prison population by roughly 30,000 to meet the target the three-judge panel imposed. Thanks Mary!