The California Legislative Analyst's Office is calling on state lawmakers to get more involved in reducing the number of inmates in overcrowded prisons, reports California Watch. The office recommended that the Legislature start by asking federal courts for more time to bring down the prisoner population. The U.S. Supreme Court in May upheld an earlier ruling that the state's prisons are unconstitutionally overcrowded, compromising inmate health care.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has until roughly June 2013 to shed 34,000 inmates. The state is behind in its inmate-reduction effort, and the corrections department is requesting an extension, which provides legislators with cause to take a more active role, the analyst’s office argues. The report, by analyst Mac Taylor, suggests lawmakers could exercise their authority by halting approval of new prison construction and continuing the transfer of inmates to private, out-of-state prisons.