[JURIST] California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger [official website] has announced a plan to release some prisoners convicted of nonviolent crime [press conference video/transcript] to alleviate the burden on Californias overcrowded prison system [JURIST news archive]. The move comes in response to various federal actions, including one as recently as last week by US District Judge Thelton E. Henderson [official profile] of the Northern District of California [official website], that could establish federal oversight of Californias prison system if the overcrowding problem is not solved. The California system has more than 171,000 inmates living in facilities that combined were designed for 100,000. Schwarzeneggers press office has indicated that felons will not be eligible for early release.
Earlier this week a California state judge ruled that a plan to transfer prisoners out of state violated state law [JURIST report]. The San Francisco Chronicle has more.