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Federal judges order Brown to begin releasing inmates immediately

June 20, 2013|By Paige St. John
  • Inmate Curtis Colvard Sr. reads a Bible in the exercise yard of Sacramento County's Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center in Elk Grove. Federal judges ordered Gov. Jerry Brown Thursday to immediately begin releasing inmates from the state's crowded prisons.
Inmate Curtis Colvard Sr. reads a Bible in the exercise yard of Sacramento… (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated…)

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.

DOCUMENT: Gov. Brown ordered to release inmates

"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.

Brown has challenged the federal court's population caps on state prisons, created to force the state to improve living and healthcare conditions within its lockups. The governor already had begun the process of appealing them, for a second time, before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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paige.stjohn@latimes.com

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