The state of California has been ordered to release more than 55,000 prison inmates to ease pressure on its ailing penal system.
Federal judges ruled last week that California's 33 adult jails have become so overcrowded that they violate the constitutional rights of inmates, subjecting them to "cruel and unusual" punishment that is causing at least one death a month. Just over a third of the state's 158,000 prisoners must be set free by 2012 to ensure that basic healthcare is provided to those who remain behind, the judges said. The majority will go through early release and parole schemes.
Critics claim the ruling amounts to throwing open the doors of the biggest prison system in America, and will endanger the public. California's Attorney General, Jerry Brown, announced an immediate appeal to the Supreme Court, saying: "This order is a blunt instrument that does not recognise the imperatives of public safety, nor the challenges of incarcerating criminals, many of whom are deeply disturbed."
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 22487.html