Federal Courts Order Oversight for California Prisons
Two federal judges Monday ordered the creation of an oversight panel to determine whether overcrowding is causing the pathetic lack of medical and mental health care to inmates.
If the panel determines they are, it would have authority to make drastic changes in the system, including ordering the early release of prisoners.
"This is an historic moment; we're hoping it means we will take a step back to constitutionally operated prisons," said inmate attorney Michael Bien, who petitioned the court for a federal takeover. "Our prisons are horrific places, they are an embarrassment to all of us. We think these very reasoned, deliberate and careful decisions by both judges represent a breath of hope that we can somehow get control of over the prisons again."
Gov. Schwarzenegger promised reform and didn't come through. He and the state legislature thought by pumping $7.4 billion into prison expansion, all would be fixed.
Now, a prison cap is possible. But it's not likely to result in mass early release of inmates.
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