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Calif. gets more time to reduce prison crowding

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 29, 2013 at 7:49 pm •  Published: January 29, 2013

Inmate rights attorney Don Specter, who is suing the state over prison crowding, said California has previously shown that it can safely meet the year-end deadline.

"The court is bending over backwards to accommodate the state's interest in public safety," said Specter, director of the Prison Law Office. "We expect them to obey the court's order to take all the steps necessary to meet that deadline."

In a separate but related filing, one of the three federal judges set a March 27 hearing for arguments over whether he should end a long-running lawsuit over inmate mental health care.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton of Sacramento has until April to rule on Brown's demand that the court end his oversight of the treatment of mentally ill inmates.

A court-appointed special master recently said it is too soon to end federal monitoring, given the state's relatively high rate of inmate suicides and continued delays in providing treatment.

Brown's administration filed a strongly worded response Tuesday, arguing that the suicide rate is misleading and that the prison system has taken proper steps to aid mentally ill inmates.