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The State of California and The Supreme Court still Struggle Over 40,000 Inmate Debate

By Erica Madison and Staff Reports

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations, isn’t worried about their failure to meet the Supreme Court’s 40,000 inmate release plan.

Last month a three judge panel ruled, the prison population in California was overcrowded. Currently the 33 prisons have a combined overcrowding rate of 190 percent. This affects the ability of the prisons to offer adequate health care. To rectify the problem, the Supreme Court ordered Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to create a plan that would release 40,000 mates over the next two years. This would reduce the prison population to 135 percent.

But the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations  (CDCR) and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, feel they can reduce the population to 148 percent over a 6 year period without a drastic release of inmates.

“We don’t think the federal government should dictate a plan we think it’s the job of the California Legislature, for the Governor, and policy makers. Not the Federal Courts.” Said CDCR Secretary Mathew Cate.

Despite the protest, the CDCR was given 45 days to submit a plan that would meet the Supreme Court’s order to reduce the prison population from 190 percent 135 percent. Unfortunately, they didn’t submit a proposal that followed the Supreme Court guidelines.

On Friday Sept. 18, the CDCR submitted a prison reform proposal, which plans to reduce the prison population over the next six years through:

  • Building 5800 more beds,
  • Discharging Deported Parolees,
  • Increasing parole monitoring
  • Sending inmates out of State

The CDCR feels confident the plan they’ve submitted, is the safest route possible for the public. A CDCR staff member said, the report submitted the  to the Court, obliges the Court’s desire for a response to the order.

“There is no plan to release 40,000 inmates. We don’t have a breakdown of how that would work. We have submitted a report and are awaiting their response. In the mean time we have also filed an appeal.” Said a CDCR Staff member.

Sources at the Alameda County level told Action Alameda News that a mass release of inmates would mean that a large number of the inmates would return to Alameda County, because of high crime rates in many East Bay cities, and because inmates are remanded to the city where they were convicted.

According to statistics on the City of Alameda Police Department website, report 1,653 “simple assaults” in Alameda for the time period from 2004 to 2008, and 684 “assaults” for the same time period. Robbery is up 1% from 2007 to 2008, and Burglary is up 7% for the same time frame.

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