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California files new plan to reduce prison overcrowding

[JURIST] The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) [official website] filed a new plan [text, PDF] Thursday for reducing prison overcrowding [JURIST news archive] in the state. The new plan includes revisions made possible because of legislative enactments, including summary parole for lower-level offenses to reduce the amount of inmates re-entering the prison system for parole violations and credit earning enhancements to reduce time served. The Schwarzenegger administration [official website] promised [press release] that the revised plan would comply with a federal court order to reduce the prison population [JURIST report] issued by a three-judge panel in August. The panel issued its own benchmarks [text, PDF] insisting that California reduce its prison overcrowding rate from 190 percent to 137.5 percent by 2011.

The panel rejected [LAT report] CDCR's first plan [JURIST report], filed in September, which fell short of the order's requirements. That plan did not include the legislative enactments but provided various ways of reducing overcrowding, including transferring more prisoners to out-of-state prisons, GPS monitoring of inmates who violate parole, commuting sentences of inmates who are eligible for deportation, and building new facilities or converting unused space. Earlier in September, the US Supreme Court [official website] refused to grant a request [JURIST report] by the state of California to temporarily stay the court order.

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