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Jerry Brown Calls on Feds to Relinquish Hold on State Prisons

LOS ANGELES — Gov. Jerry Brown is challenging a federal court order that California further reduce its inmate population to improve prison conditions.

The governor said California would have to grant shorter sentences to inmates convicted of violent or serious felonies to meet the court’s mandate.

He also called for restoring the state’s authority over its prison system, vowing to take that battle to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

Brown said he was offering, under protest, a plan to release some prisoners early in order to comply with a court order, but said such a plan was unnecessary.

Brown’s comments came at a Capitol press conference just hours after his administration filed documents with a federal court asking judges to lift their requirement that the state reduce its prison population.

“The overcrowding and health care conditions cited by this court to support its population reduction order are now a distant memory,” the documents filed by the Brown administration said.

“California’s vastly improved prison health care system now provides inmates with superior care that far exceeds the minimum requirements of the Constitution.”

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