California Given Two More Years to Fix Prison Overcrowding

This problem has been dragging on for years


SACRAMENTO, California—California won two additional years to reduce overcrowding in its massive prison system under an order issued on Monday by a panel of federal judges, in the latest twist in a decades-long dispute over prison conditions and medical care for inmates.

The court-appointed panel, which oversees ongoing prison crowding cases in California, said it was granting the extension, to February 2016, because the state had promised to develop comprehensive reforms to its prison system, which currently houses about 120,000 inmates in facilities designed to hold about 80,000.

California prisons have been in the national spotlight for the past year as officials wrestled with crowding and concerns about the use of long-term solitary confinement for prisoners with suspected gang ties, which led to a hunger strike last year.