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Prison guard

A guard keeps watch at Chino State Prison. A new Inspector General report revealed extreme abuses by guards in California’s prison system. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

An inmate at Chino State Prison sleeps on his bunk bed in a gymnasium that was modified to house prisoners on December 10, 2010 in Chino, California. The U.S. Supreme Court is preparing to hear arguments to appeal a federal court’s ruling last year that the California state prison system would have to release 40,000 prisoners to cope with overcrowding so severe that it violated their human rights. More than 144,000 inmates are currently incarcerated in prisons that were designed to hold about 80,000.

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Prison guard