California prisons granted two-year extension for population cuts

By Marie Blake,

Federal judges grant a two-year extension for California to cut down its prison population. The California prison system is currently more than 5,000 inmates over its goal. Governor Jerry Brown claims that the goal can be met by the end of February 2016.

The Associated Press reports that judges granted a two-year extension for a court ordered prison cap as a result of a lawsuit aimed at helping inmate medical care.

They can meet their goals by releasing inmates who pass certain requirements: Inmates who are medically incapacitated, non-violent offenders who have strong good behavior points, or inmates who are 60 or older and have served at least 25 years.

According to Bloomberg News, judges were hesitant to extend the deadline, but felt it was necessary in order to control the overcrowded population and increase inmate medical care.

"While we are reluctant to extend the deadline for two more years, we also acknowledge that defendants have agreed that, with such an extension, they will implement measures that should result in a durable solution to prison overcrowding in California," judges said.

Federal judges took control of the prison health system after conditions were so terrible, they believed it was near cruel and unusual punishment as well as a violation of the US Constitution.

California prisons must now reduce the number of inmates to 137.5 percent of design capacity by their new deadline.

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