California meets judges' prison crowding goal 1 year early

AP News
Posted: Jan 29, 2015 7:54 PM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Officials say California has reached a court-ordered target to reduce the number of inmates in its crowded prisons a year ahead of the deadline set by federal judges.

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation had until February 2016 to reduce the population of the state's 34 adult prisons to 137.5 percent of their capacity.

The department reports it reached that mark on Thursday. It says the institutional population is now more than 113,000 inmates, down from a high of nearly 163,000 in 2006.

Attorneys who represent prison inmates praised the development, but say the challenge now is to keep the population at the court-ordered level.

The prison population has been projected to gradually rise, though that was before voters approved Proposition 47 in November, lowering the penalties for certain drug and property crimes.