California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has made one last plea to the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the legality of a federal court’s unprecedented order requiring the state to shed nearly 40,000 inmates from its prison system over the next two years, reports the San Jose Mercury News. The Supreme Court will consider the request at private conference Jan. 15.
The panel found California’s 33 prisons are so overwhelmed with inmates that the state can no longer provide adequate medical and mental health care, violating prisoners’ constitutional rights. The judges have ordered the state to reduce the prison population to 137 percent of capacity, a move that would force at least 37,000 inmates from the system by 2012. Schwarzenegger argues that the three judges have trampled on the right of the state to run its prison system and operate within its budget.