California's Legislative Analyst's Office released a status report on Aug. 5 concluding that California is unlikely to meet the US Supreme Court's two-year deadline to reduce the state's prison population by 34,000 inmates. California's prisoner realignment plan, which entails shifting thousands of low-level offenders to county jails, could reduce the prison population by 32,000 inmates—still a few thousand inmates short of decreasing the 180% prison capacity to the mandated 137.5% capacity, by June 27, 2013.
The report states that despite statutory sentencing changes, out-of-state transfers, the construction of new prisons, and the realignment of certain adult offenders and parolees, California is urged to request additional time to comply with the order. The number of inmates currently in California prisons is approximately 143,500, about a 19,000 inmate reduction from 2006.
In June, California Governor Jerry Brown submitted a plan to reduce the state's prison population to reduce prison overcrowding. The plan is a response to the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Plata to uphold a federal three-judge panel order which concluded that the extreme overcrowding of the California prison system violated the Eighth Amendment because it prevented the system from providing adequate medical and mental health care to the inmates. (Jurist, Aug. 6)