SACRAMENTO -- Lawyers representing California prisoners Friday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reject Gov. Jerry Brown's quest to remove court-ordered population limits set for the state's prisons.
A panel of three U.S. District Court judges has given California until the end of December to lower prison crowding to 137.5% of what those facilities were built to hold. The Supreme Court this summer refused to put that order on hold while California pursued its appeal.
In the meantime, Brown has asked a divided Legislature to approve a $315-million proposal to lease prison beds from private prisons both in and outside of California, as well as from locally owned lockups, including county jails. Brown seeks to move some 9,600 inmates out of state prisons, and inmates this week were told to get ready for those moves.
The inmates' lawyers asked the Supreme Court to refuse to hear California's appeal. They say the mass prisoner releases state lawyers warned about previously never materialized. They note that Brown has announced that he can now comply with the overcrowding cap by simply expanding prison capacity.