SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration and attorneys representing inmates have failed to reach agreement on the best way to reduce overcrowding in California prisons, a panel of federal judges said Monday, leaving it the court to decide whether to grant the state more time.
The judges said in a two-paragraph statement that they will decide within 30 days whether to stick with their current order that the state reduce the population to about 110,000 inmates to improve treatment of sick and mentally ill inmates.
California remains about 4,000 inmates over that level and had been given until April 18 to meet the cap. That deadline was extended slightly as both sides were given time to file written arguments, due by Jan. 28.
The state budget Brown presented last week assumed the judges will grant the state a two-year extension. That would give the state time to open new prison cells and allow time for rehabilitation programs to get underway.
If the delay is denied, the governor said the state will send the overflow of inmates to private prisons in other states.
There is nothing in the judges’ order prohibiting the state from seeking an extension longer than two years when it files its argument with the court later this month. Brown previously had sought a three-year delay.
Corrections department spokeswoman Deborah Hoffman said the administration isn’t commenting on what it will propose, although she said the administration is hopeful it will get an extension.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.