Monday, September 18, 2006
Stanford CrimProf Robert Weisberg, director of Stanford Law's Criminal Justice Center says "there's a general sense of caution on anything involving crime and prisons" in California. Three months ago, Gov. Schwarzenegger urged legislators to take action to resolve California's prison overpopulation and "deplorable inmate healthcare." But at the end of August, lawmakers adjourned for the year without addressing the system's myriad of problems. And while the legislators have gone home, prison officials warn they will run out of beds by June. Already inmates are stacked on double and triple-bunks in gymnasiums and day centers.
Steve Fama of the Prison Law Office is considering a federal lawsuit contending that overcrowding conditions amount to "cruel and unusual punishment.'' If successful, the case could cap prison populations. If prison populations were capped, of course more facilities would be necessary. Schwarzenegger has indicated that he may declare a state of emergency in the prisons, allowing him to impose measures, such as shipping inmates to other states or re-opening mothballed prison facilities. Story from MercuryNews.com. . . [Michele Berry]