Federal judges in California confirmed that Gov. Jerry Brown and lawyers for inmates failed to agree on a plan to handle crowding in the state's prisons and announced they will order a solution instead, the Los Angeles Times reports. The judges gave Brown and lawyers for inmates until Jan. 23 to file proposed terms “to achieve durable compliance” with crowding limits that were to go into effect April 18. They said they will push that ultimate deadline back by however long it takes the jurists to decide their own solution.
For now, California will still be blocked from expanding its contracts with private prison operators for cells out of state. And it means a short delay before Brown and state lawmakers learn if California will need to spend a planned $315 million to expand private prison leases, or just $228 million to keep those lease contracts at their current level. If the crowding deadline is pushed back to 2016, as Brown seeks, the governor pledges to give $81 million of the savings to counties for prisoner rehabilitation programs. In the absence of a deal, Brown said last week he is immediately expanding state parole programs for the frail and elderly, and increasing early release eligibility for some repeat offenders.