Federal Judges Extend Calif. Deadline to Reduce Prison Overcrowding

Authorities have until Feb. 24 to come up with a solution

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Noah Berger / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Inmates walk along a fenced area while performing work chores at Deuel Vocational Institution on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Tracy, Calif.

Three federal judges on Monday ruled to again extend the deadline for a plan to reduce California’s overcrowded prisons, giving a court-appointed mediator an additional month to find a proposal that would reduce the number of inmates in state prisons, the Associated Press reports.

California was ordered to remove an estimated 9,600 prisoners from its state facilities by Jan. 27, but the new court ruling will allow authorities to work until Feb. 24 to come up with a solution. The decision also asks the mediator to continue negotiations with state and inmate attorneys for a better solution to prison overcrowding. The mediator will report back Nov. 18 to discuss negotiation progress, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Last month Gov. Jerry Brown and state officials asked for a three-year delay to implement better rehabilitation and mental health services. The court instead extended the previous deadline from Dec. 31 to Jan. 27 and ordered the negotiations.

If a resolution is not reached, a new state law will require spending $315 million to accommodate the more than 9,000 inmates in private prisons and county jails.

[Associated Press]