A panel of federal judges on Thursday ordered Gov. Jerry Brown to immediately begin releasing inmates from the state's crowded prisons.
In a 52-page order signed by U.S. District Judges Stephen Reinhardt, Lawrence Karlton and Thelton Henderson, the court ordered Brown to expand good-time credits that allow inmates to finish their prison terms early.
The judges demanded that the state take such steps "commencing forthwith" and regardless of any laws that might prevent those releases.
"All such state and local laws and regulations are hereby waived, effective immediately," the judges order.
The judges give Brown the option of deciding how to carry out the order -- by revising the state's already proposed good-time credit program, substituting other prisoners for early release, or adopting any other step that would result in an equivalent reduction in the number of people held in state prisons.