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Crime

Supreme Court Orders California to Release 30,000 Prisoners

Ruling today that the overcrowded conditions in California's prisons violate the constitution's "cruel and unusual punishment", the US Supreme Court ordered the release of at least 30,000 prisoners in the system. From the NY Times:

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority in a 5-to-4 decision that broke along ideological lines, described a prison system that failed to deliver minimal care to prisoners with serious medical and mental health problems and produced “needless suffering and death.”

The majority opinion included photographs of inmates crowded into open gymnasium-style rooms and what Justice Kennedy described as “telephone-booth-sized cages without toilets” used to house suicidal inmates. Suicide rates in the state’s prisons, Justice Kennedy wrote, have been 80 percent higher than the national average. A lower court in the case said it was “an uncontested fact” that “an inmate in one of California’s prisons needlessly dies every six or seven days due to constitutional deficiencies.”

There are currently about 28,500 people in California prisons for non-violent drug offenses, according to the California Department of Corrections. Just sayin'.

Photos courtesy TalkRadioNews

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