Thursday, September 17, 2009

The State Will Not Comply with Plata/Coleman Requirement!

Tomorrow is the deadline imposed by the Plata/Coleman panel for the State to come up with a population reduction plan. As the Chron reports today, the State will NOT comply with the deadline.

[T]he plan California officials will submit by midnight Friday will fall short of meeting the 40,000-inmate reduction ordered last month by the federal panel, state prison officials said in a briefing Wednesday to various parties, including legislative staffers who work on prison issues.

. . .

The state officials did not tell by how much their plan would fall short but said they may revise it before they submit it Friday, sources said. The officials also said they expect the judges to find the state in contempt for failing to meet the demand, one source said.

If the judges decide the state deliberately violated their order, they could hold the defendants - Schwarzenegger, Corrections Secretary Matthew Cate and state Controller John Chiang - in contempt. The court would have the power to send any or all of them to jail until they complied with the order, but that's unlikely in light of events earlier in the case.

What complicates matters, of course, is the "rival plan" approved by the Assembly, which we discussed elsewhere, and which falls short of generating any serious systematic change through sentencing reform. Given the disappointing scope of this plan, the State's argument against Federal judicial involvement in prison management becomes significantly weaker. Stay tuned for tomorrow's developments.

No comments: