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Supreme Court Orders California to Reduce Prison Population

HeadlineMay 24, 2011

The Supreme Court has ordered California to reduce its prison population by nearly 40,000 prisoners due to inhumane conditions. In a five-to-four ruling, the court said conditions in California’s prison system are "incompatible with the concept of human dignity," causing "needless suffering and death." The decision upholds a lower court ruling ordering the California prison system to reduce overcrowding. According to court documents, at least one California prisoner "needlessly dies every six or seven days due to constitutional deficiencies." The state currently imprisons some 140,000 people and has a prisoner suicide rate that at times has been 80 percent higher than the national average. California has two years to comply with the ruling but could seek more time.

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