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Reduce prison population to improve healthcare for inmates?

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court on Monday endorsed a court order requiring California to cut its prison population by thousands of inmates to improve health care for those who remain behind bars.

The court said in a 5-4 decision that the reduction is "required by the Constitution" to correct longstanding violations of inmates' rights.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, a California native, wrote the majority opinion, in which he included photos of severe overcrowding. The court's four Democratic appointees joined with Kennedy.

"The violations have persisted for years. They remain uncorrected," Kennedy said.

Justice Antonin Scalia said in dissent that the court order is "perhaps the most radical injunction issued by a court in our nation's history."

Scalia, reading his dissent aloud Monday, said it would require the release of "the staggering number of 46,000 convicted felons."

Justice Clarence Thomas joined Scalia's opinion, while Justice Samuel Alito wrote a separate dissent for himself and Chief Justice John Roberts.

The case revolves around inadequate mental and physical health care in a state prison system that in 2009 averaged nearly a death a week that might have been prevented or delayed with better medical care.

The state's 33 adult prisons hold more than 142,000 inmates in its 33 adult prisons. The facilities were designed to hold about 80,000.

But the state has protested a court order to cut the population cut to around 110,000 inmates within two years

Answer Question

Asked by sweet-a-kins at 11:23 AM on May. 23, 2011 in Politics & Current Events

Level 34 (67,502 Credits)
Answers (6)
  • If they stop healthcare in prison all together, they can reduce their populations naturally. Sounds like a win win for me.

    Answer by jewjewbee at 11:25 AM on May. 23, 2011

  • They should make them work for their own health coverage or make their families cover them on their private policies and spend that money for our elderly that need it more than our criminals.

    Answer by aheuszel at 11:26 AM on May. 23, 2011

  • Solution is easy, If there is a maximum amount of prisoners allowed in prisons then the number should be adhered to. If they have so many criminals they need to put people to work building new privatized prisons (all of them would be even better). Till they do that they need to farm the prisoners out to prisons around the country that have room and yes there are some. They would have to pay those states what it would cost them to keep the prisoners. They could also adjust penalties for things such as Pot use or possession, first time non violent offenses etc. to house arrest or community service etc. to lessen the populations of their prisons.
    The problem with these states is at the top where they do things they shouldn't be doing instead of fixing the problem. just reducing the pop. is not why you should reduce heath costs but is would help if they were not overpopulated. Prisoners already GET healthcare.

    Answer by itsmesteph11 at 11:42 AM on May. 23, 2011

  • The state's 33 adult prisons hold more than 142,000 inmates in its 33 adult prisons.

    That is some absolutely HORRIBLE writing. Go go Huffpo! Wonder how much more room they have if they deported all the ones that weren't from around there? (that means the citizens not from CA get shipped to the state they're born in and the non-citizens get shipped the country they're born in)

    Answer by NotPanicking at 1:54 PM on May. 23, 2011

  • jewjew - nice thought but the prisoner rights ppl would be all over you on that one ...

    The overcrowding is really sad. I'm guessing there are some 420 violators that shouldn't be in there at all ....

    Answer by tasches at 4:55 PM on May. 23, 2011

  • I am for prison reform. If tge goal is to never let someone out on the street again do as you wish. If rehabilitation is truly the goal we do shit as a job across the board. Inmates are people too and some of the worst violation of rights and crimes happen behind bars while the inmates are victimized by their system. So yes, any reform that treats people with dignity and respect is needed. Especially if that person will be your neighbor when she is released.

    Answer by frogdawg at 7:16 PM on May. 23, 2011

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