Supreme Court Orders California to Release 33,000 Prisoners

Posted on May 27, 2011 in National Issues

On Tuesday the Supreme Court ordered the California State prison system, which has had troubles with overcrowding, to reduce its population by 33,000 inmates. While the ruling only applies to California, Louisiana and other states facing overcrowding may be affected.

Photo Courtesy of nola.com

California prisons were so overcrowded that it severely hindered their ability to provide prisoners with proper healthcare, resulting in multiple casualties. The court ruled that the conditions faced by inmates were in violation of the Constitution’s eighth amendment banning cruel and unusual punishment. This ruling may encourage similar cases to be brought against the nations other crowded prisons.

New Orleans, which historically has had a large number of prisoners per capita, has already taken action to reduce the number of inmates due to the high costs of maintaining such a large prison population. Marijuana possession, which had previously required an arrest, now allows an officer to assign a court summons instead, and the new construction of a smaller jail should reduce the number of inmates.

Eighteen Attorneys general, including Louisiana’s, filed friend-of-the-court briefs supporting California’s wish to maintain its current prison population. They point to a similar scenario in Philadelphia during the early 90’s that led to a rash of violent crimes. Supporters of the ruling hope that by shifting funding from the prison into community-based centers, criminals that avoid jail time will receive proper treatment.

If you or anyone you know has been arrested, contact Bloom Legal at 504-599-9997, so that we can fight for you.

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