GUANGZHOU, China -- Gov. Jerry Brown said Sunday that his administration will come up with a plan for reducing the state prison population by an additional 10,000 inmates, even as it asks the U.S. Supreme Court to block a judicial order demanding such a recommendation.
"We've got to come up with a plan, " Brown told reporters on a flight here from Nanjing, part of his weeklong swing through China. Brown appeared unphased by the task, accepting the recent ruling with the combativeness of someone spoiling for a good political fight.
But he said his administration was ready to act quickly.
"They may not issue a stay," Brown said of the Supreme Court. If that happens, state officials would be required to produce an outline by early next month for how to move thousands of felons out of state lockups. "Then we'll have some action," he said.
While federal judges say the state's prisons are unconstitutionally crowded, Republican critics in Sacramento are blaming Brown's earlier inmate reduction efforts for a number recent violent crimes. In 2011, Brown signed a law that sent new lower-level offenders to county jails instead of state prisons. That has led to inmate spikes in county jails, and many lower level offenders being released, critics say.