U.S. Supreme Court Says California Must Reduce Prison Population

In a move that one justice called “the most radical injunction issued by a court in our nation’s history,” the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ordered California to cut its prison population by more than 33,000 inmates. It is a landmark decision in a decades-long legal battle over conditions inside California prisons, and the immediate response from some quarters warned of an impending public safety crisis. “If that doesn’t have a negative impact on the safety of the people of California, I don’t know what does,” said U.S. Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Gold River. “This is not releasing the Vienna Boys Choir.”  But the reality is that the court’s opinion has no immediate effect on how many inmates the state can keep in custody. “This is not a sudden court order requiring the prison doors to fly open,” said Allen Hopper, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union. Instead, the high court’s opinion gives the state at least two years to reduce its current population of 143,435 inmates to 109,805.

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