[JURIST] California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger [official website; JURIST news archive] Thursday filed a stay order [case summary] in California's 3rd District Court of Appeal [official backgrounder] to block a ruling unfavorable to his plan to transfer excess prisoners to out-of-state facilities [JURIST news archive]. California had filed its own appeal Tuesday. The Sacramento County Superior Court ruled [JURIST report] in February that Schwarzenegger's emergency declaration [JURIST report] plans to transfer prisoners to private out-of-state facilities violated state law and the state's constitution because the plan involved contracting private companies to perform jobs usually held by state workers. Two unions, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association and the Service Employees International Union Local 1000 [labor websites] have argued that the transfers violate the state's civil service protection laws.
In February, Schwarzenegger announced a plan to release some prisoners convicted of non-violent crimes [JURIST report] as part of an effort to alleviate California's overcrowded prisons. Last year, a federal judge ordered California [JURIST report] to solve its prison overcrowding problem and vowed to release prisoners early if an adequate solution was not reached. In response, Schwarzenegger issued the emergency proclamation and the California Department of Corrections [official website] began out-of-state transfers [JURIST report] in November 2006. The Sacramento Bee has more.