A panel of federal judges Monday gave California two more years to cut its prison population to a level originally ordered in 2009, a move that once again gives the state more breathing room to comply, but also establishes a non-negotiable deadline, reports the Sacramento Bee. Under Monday's order, the state has until Feb. 28, 2016, to reduce the inmate population in its 34 adult prisons by about 5,500, from the current 117,600 inmates.
The order essentially adopts a proposal by Gov. Jerry Brown's administration that promised the judges the state would not seek further delays or court appeals if an extension was granted. The order comes from a specially created three-judge court that found in 2009 that overcrowding in California's adult prisons has pulled the quality of medical and mental health care for inmates well below constitutional standards. The three judges acknowledged they were “reluctant” to grant yet another extension.