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Senator Strickland challenges Prisoner Release Order

Posted: September 3, 2009 11:43 a.m.
Updated: September 4, 2009 11:40 a.m.
Sacramento, CA - State Senator Tony Strickland (R-Thousand Oaks) and fellow lawmakers today announced they will appeal the Prisoner Release Order issued by the federal Three-Judge Court. A notice of appeal will be filed on Sept. 3, 2009. As intervenors in the litigation underlying the Prisoner Release Order issued by the court, the legislators said the court panel set an egregious precedent by usurping California's jurisdiction over itd prisoners and prison healthcare, and failed to comply with the federal Prison Litigation Reform Act.

"The Prisoner Release Order harms the well-being and safety of every Californian," said Senator Tony Strickland. "Ironically, California's felons are receiving better healthcare then the average law-abiding citizen and the federal government spends less money on prison healthcare compared to our state. The court's refusal to listen to any evidence in the contrary has compelled me to join my colleagues in appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court."

The Prisoner Release Order was issued by the Three-Judge Court on Aug. 4, 2009, mandating the State of California to prepare within 45 days, and implement within two years, a plan to decrease California's prison population to no more than 137.5 percent of design capacity. This would require the release of approximately 45,000 prisoners based on the current prison population and one prisoner per cell according to the design capacity as defined by the court.

The coalition of lawmakers, California district attorney, sheriff, police chief, and probation officer intervenors will seek to appeal and dispute the assumption of the Three-Judge Court that medical and mental healthcare in California prisons fails to meet Constitutional standards and it is necessary to release 45,000 inmates to meet those standards in the future.

Senator Tony Strickland said, "As a public servant, I cannot be a bystander to the federal government endangering the communities I represent in order for a criminal to have a private, spacious prison cell and premium healthcare."

Tony Strickland represents California Senate District 19, which includes portions of Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties.


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