Public and Employee Communications



For Immediate Release
Contact: Seth Unger / Gordon Hinkle
(916) 445-4950

August 4, 2009

CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate Statement on Three Judge Panel Ruling on Inmate Overcrowding

Cate speaks to press

click to view videoSecretary Cate: "We believe the federal courts are exceeding their authority under the Prison Litigation Reform Act and will continue to fight against a population cap or court-ordered early release. We will appeal to the United States Supreme Court any final ruling that would order the release of 40,000 inmates. The governor has proposed common sense reforms in collaboration with public safety groups to address overcrowding without early release."

SACRAMENTO — A three judge federal court ruled today that California must develop a plan to reduce its prison population to approximately 110,000 inmates, or 137.5% of design capacity, over the next two years.  This would require a population reduction of approximately 40,000 prisoners.  Following is a statement from California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Secretary Matthew Cate on the three judge panel’s ruling: 

“We believe the federal courts are exceeding their authority under the Prison Litigation Reform Act and will continue to fight against a population cap or court-ordered early release.  We will appeal to the United States Supreme Court any final ruling that would order the release of 40,000 inmates.  The governor has proposed common sense reforms in collaboration with public safety groups to address overcrowding without early release.”

California’s 33 prisons, excluding fire camps, currently house 150,354 inmates.  The August 2008 design bed capacity of these prisons used by the courts was 79, 828 inmates (design bed capacity is defined as one inmate per cell).  The 137.5% population cap would limit the inmate population in these 33 prisons to 109,763 inmates.  This would amount to a court-ordered reduction of 40,591 inmates.

Ruling link #1  

Ruling link #2

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