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Supreme Court Rejects Gov. Brown’s Request to Delay Prisoner Release

| August 2, 2013
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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. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Inmates at Chino State Prison. The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected Gov. Brown’s request to delay the release of 10,000 inmates, who will be freed by the end of the year. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday refused to delay a court order for California to release nearly 10,000 inmates by year’s end to improve conditions in state prisons.

The court rejected a plea from Gov. Jerry Brown, over the objections of three justices. Brown argued the early release would jeopardize public safety.

Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas said they would have granted the state’s request.

The court ruled 5-4 in 2011 that the state must cut its inmate population to deal with unconstitutional prison conditions caused by overcrowding.

State officials said conditions have improved dramatically since a lower court order in 2009. The order calls for the population to be cut to about 110,000 inmates.

Scalia, joined by Thomas, said the state’s evidence shows that it has made “meaningful progress” and that such reductions in the inmate population are no longer necessary.

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Category: Law

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