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Jerry Brown says lawyers reviewing prison decision 'very carefully'

April 13, 2013|By Anthony York
  • Gov. Jerry Brown speaks on a tour boat Saturday during his visit to Huangpu River in Shanghai, China.
Gov. Jerry Brown speaks on a tour boat Saturday during his visit to Huangpu… (Associated Press )

SHANGHAI -- California Gov. Jerry Brown said he has asked his lawyers to review a new order from a panel of federal judges that would require the state to reduce its prison population by 10,000 inmates and said he planned to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The judges threatened this week to hold state officials, including Brown, in contempt if they fail to comply within three weeks.

“I did speak with my lawyers. I said take a good look at this stuff,” Brown told reporters as he headed to a Huangpu River cruise with former NBA star turned Napa Valley winemaker Yao Ming. “We’ll review it very, very carefully. We take it seriously.”

In 2011, the Supreme Court upheld a ruling ordering the state to drastically reduce its prison population, partially because of poor healthcare services for inmates. But Brown said the prison healthcare system has improved since that time.

“Things have changed," Brown said. "We’ve spend billions and billions of dollars … we’re spending over $15,000 for each prisoner on their healthcare. That’s two and three times what the average free citizen in California gets.”

But Brown said if the high court rejects California’s bid, state officials will create a plan to get those prisoners out of state lockups.

“When we get an order from a federal court, we do comply,” he said, “subject to appeal.“


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