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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

No agreement expected in prison overcrowding talks, judges say

Fresno BeeA panel of three federal judges indicated Monday that it expects negotiations aimed at settling California’s prison overcrowding issue to fail and that a final order in the long-running matter will come within 30 days.

The judges issued an order Monday that extends the April deadline for California to reduce its inmate population to 137.5 percent of design capacity. That order was issued in 2009 and gave the state two years to pare the number of inmates to the required level, but the deadline has been extended by the judges.

Now, the three judges – U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton of Sacramento, U.S. District Judge Thelton E. Henderson in San Francisco and Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals – have concluded that ongoing “meet and confer” discussions between lawyers for the state and inmates will not result in an agreement.

“It now appears that no such agreement will be reached, and the court therefore intends to issue an order within the next 30 days as to whether it will grant, deny or grant in part and deny in part the state’s request for an extension of time in which to comply with (earlier) orders” to reduce inmate population to the designated level, the judges wrote.

Since September, the judges have issued three orders allowing the two sides to continue talks aimed at resolving the overcrowding issue. State corrections figures show the current inmate population in California’s 34 adult prisons at 118,435. The population must be trimmed to 112,164 inmates to comply with the original order to get to 137.5 percent of design capacity, which is 81,574 inmates. continue reading...

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