Governor Schwarzenegger today issued the following statement after two federal judges, in cases relating to prison medical care and prison mental health care, granted motions to convene a three-judge panel to evaluate prison overcrowding.
“California prison overcrowding developed over the past 30 years, leading to the current crisis in our prisons. That is why I issued an Emergency Proclamation to address overcrowding and directed the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to transfer thousands of inmates to out-of-state prisons. And that is why my administration and the Legislature enacted AB 900, major prison reform that will reduce overcrowding and recidivism, and change parole policies, without releasing dangerous criminals into our communities.
“Today, the federal judges encouraged the State of California to continue with our efforts to reduce overcrowding and to implement AB 900. The judges said that if we are successful, further population orders will not be necessary. There is no immediate threat of inmate release, which one federal judge noted would be a “radical step.”
“I’m confident that the steps the state has taken and will continue taking to reduce overcrowding will meet the court’s concerns. At the same time, we intend to appeal these orders to ensure that dangerous criminals are not released into our communities.”