Monday’s Supreme Court decision on California prison health care will make it easier for judges to shrink prison populations elsewhere, McClatchy Newspapers report. It also could embolden other challenges to prison conditions well beyond California. “It’s a helpful precedent, and it says that the federal courts will step in when necessary to enforce the essential rights of prisoners,” said David Fathi of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison Project.
Texas, Louisiana, Alaska and 15 other states had filed a brief on California’s behalf, saying that they “may someday be forced to defend against lawsuits filed [ ] with the aim of forcing large-scale prisoner releases.” Other states with jammed prisons include Illinois, Alabama, and Massachusetts. The decision was the first by the high court evaluating a prisoner release order since Congress imposed stiff requirements for such orders under the 1995 Prison Litigation Reform Act.