[JURIST] The California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District [official website] has ruled that the state may continue to transfer prisoners out-of-state [JURIST report] while litigation proceeds over the challenged program to deal with California's prison overcrowding [JURIST news archive]. The state has appealed a Sacramento County Superior Court ruling against the program [JURIST report], which began out-of-state transfers in November. Currently, 360 inmates have been voluntarily moved to out-of-state facilities, but state officials say that they intend to move up to 5,000 prisoners by year's end. The appellate court's decision was handed down Friday, but not announced until Monday.
Earlier this month, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger [official website] signed off on a $7.7 billion program to construct facilities [JURIST report] to provide 53,000 new prison and jail beds over the next five years. In February, Schwarzenegger announced a plan to release prisoners convicted of nonviolent crimes [JURIST report] in response to various federal actions that could establish federal oversight of California's prison system [JURIST report] if the overcrowding problem is not resolved. AP has more. The Los Angeles Times has local coverage.