The Supreme Court has ordered California to ease prison overcrowding. So how bad is it? And what kinds of crimes are all those inmates locked up for?
On Monday, the Supreme Court ordered California to reduce overcrowding in its prisons. So just how bad is it? California's 33 state prisons are designed to hold a total of 80,000 inmates. As of Monday, they held 143,435 inmates, nearly 180 percent of their intended capacity, resulting in one preventable death every week. Prison overcrowding has been a problem in California for decades.
California has been ordered to bring its prison population down to 137.5 percent of capacity by 2013. There are a variety of ways the state could to that, including building new prisons, moving nonviolent offenders to county jails, and sending felons to prisons in other states. Or California could simply release up to 33,000 inmates early. So who's in California prisons anyway?