A group of Republican state lawmakers today plan to appeal a federal court order that would force the state to reduce its prison population by 40,000 inmates, the legislators said at a Capitol news conference.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the main defendant in the two inmate lawsuits in which the order was issued, will also appeal the decision, his aides said. The appeals are separate.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday, September 05, 2009 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 National Desk 1 inches; 33 words Type of Material: Correction
GOP leader: A California Briefing item in Thursday's Section A about state Republican lawmakers appealing a court order on prisons identified the Assembly GOP leader as Bruce Blakeslee. His first name is Sam.
The Republican lawmakers had previously joined the suit as interested parties. Assembly GOP leader Bruce Blakeslee of San Luis Obispo called the Aug. 4 order from the panel of three judges "an egregious overstep of federal power."
The judges said the state must come up with a plan by Sept. 18 to reduce the prison population because overcrowding has led to medical and mental health care that do not meet federal constitutional standards.
State Sen. George Runner (R-Lancaster) said the judges had ignored the state's recent "huge investment" in spending on inmate healthcare, as well as statistics showing that California spends more on healthcare per prisoner, and has a lower mortality rate among inmates, than many other states.
-- Michael Rothfeld