State Asks Judge to Clear Way for Prison

The state Department of Corrections on Tuesday urged a judge to reconsider his order requiring more environmental studies before construction of a 1,450-bed prison in East Los Angeles.

Superior Court Judge John Zebrowski said he needed time to study the request.

Last month, the city and community groups that have fought the prison won a victory when Zebrowski ruled that an environmental study certified last December was "inadequate" because it did not consider the impact if the maximum-security prison became severely over-crowded.

In response, Gov. George Deukmejian issued an executive order saying the state will not allow the inmate population to exceed 190% of the prison's capacity, or 2,660 inmates. The state then asked Zebrowski to reconsider his order.

Ron Silverman, a lawyer for the city of Los Angeles, which sued the state to try to block the prison, argued that the executive order could easily be changed.

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