Jerry Brown says state needs more time to implement Supreme Court prison ruling


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Gov. Jerry Brown said Thursday he would likely ask federal judges for more time to reduce the state’s prison population by more than 30,000 inmates.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that California’s overcrowded prisons violate the constitutional rights of state prisoners, and gave officials two years to slash the number of inmates.


The Brown administration has to submit a plan to a three-judge panel by next week, outlining how it intends to move those prisoners out of state facilities.

But Brown said Thursday the timelines offered by the high court were unrealistic.

‘It’s going to take more than two years,’ Brown told reporters Thursday.

When asked if he planned to ask federal judges for more time to comply with the Supreme Court ruling, he said, ‘I’m looking at that option.’

Brown’s budget calls for a massive prisoner shift to county jails -– a shift that would be funded by tax extensions Brown wants voters to ratify later this year.

Under Brown’s plan, the state prison population would come close to the targets set by the Supreme Court, but that plan would take four years to implement.

There are other unknowns in the governor’s proposal. He is still seeking Republican votes to put those tax extensions before voters. And if voters reject the taxes, Brown said his administration would have to find another way to comply with the court’s order.



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-- Anthony York in Sacramento

Wednesday at the California State Assn. of Counties Legislative conference in Sacramento. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press