Three-Judge Panel Orders Immediate Release of Prisoners

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 Calipatria State Prison

SACRAMENTO – On Thursday, June 20, 2013, the federal Three Judge Panel (TJP) ordered California to immediately take steps to release inmates to comply with their 2009 order to reduce the prison population to 137.5 percent of design capacity. The new order specifically calls for the state to expand the use of good-time credits to shave a few months off the prison sentences for some inmates.

The previous TJP order in May of this year required the state to outline the steps it would take to further reduce the state prison population. California complied with the order under protest and submitted a response outlining steps the Administration has already taken to safely decrease the prison population and a variety of options the state could consider, many of which they stated could not be achieved unless the Court alters state law, dictates the adoption of new prison policies, and/or orders the release of inmates serving prison terms for serious and violent felonies.

The Court responded to the State’s claims by waving all state and federal laws that would prevent the State from taking immediate action. Governor Brown’s Office released a statement that the State would “seek an immediate stay of this unprecedented order to release almost 10,000 inmates by the end of this year.”