[QODLink]
Americas
US state ordered to reduce overcrowded jails
Supreme Court orders California to shed some 33,000 inmates after rise in violence.
Last Modified: 24 May 2011 16:30


The US Supreme Court has ruled that the state of California must drastically reduce its prison population to relieve severe overcrowding that has exposed inmates to increased violence, disease and death.

California is home to the largest prison system in the US - the country with the world's largest incarceration rates.

The high court on Monday called on the US state to cut the population to no more than 110,000 inmates, meaning California will have to shed some 33,000 inmates over the next two years. State officials can accomplish that by transferring inmates to local jails or releasing them.

Shorter term inmates will leave prison before the Supreme Court's deadline expires, and newly sentenced lower-level offenders would go to local jails under the plan.

The 5-4 ruling revealed a sharp divide on the court between US Justices Anthony Kennedy and Antonin Scalia.

Kennedy wrote for the majority and described dismal conditions where prisoners are denied minimal care and suicidal inmates are held in `"telephone-booth sized cages without toilets".

"A prison that deprives prisoners of basic sustenance, including adequate medical care, is incompatible with the concept of human dignity and has no place in civilised society,'' Kennedy wrote.

Al Jazeera's Kimberly Halkett reports.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lacking cohesive local ground forces to attack in tandem, coalition air strikes will have limited effect, experts say.
Hindu right-wing groups run campaign against what they say is Muslim conspiracy to convert Hindu girls into Islam.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
Muslim caretakers maintain three synagogues in eastern Indian city, which was once home to a thriving Jewish community.
Amid fresh ISIL gains, officials in Anbar province have urged the Iraqi government to request foreign ground troops.