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CONTACT: Drug Policy Alliance
Margaret Dooley-Sammuli 213-291-4190 or
Tommy McDonald 510-229-5215
US Supreme Court Hears California Prison Crowding Case
Advocates Urge California to Focus on Resolving Crisis, Including Ending Prison as Response to Drug Use
10,000 in Prison for Drug Possession at Cost of $500 Million a Year
WASHINGTON - November 30 - The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in Schwarzenegger v. Plata, a landmark prison rights case in which a federal court found the unconstitutional conditions of California's prisons were caused primarily by overcrowding and ordered California to reduce prison overcrowding from over 200% of design capacity down (by about 40,000 people) to 137.5% of capacity within two years. California has conceded that the state's prison conditions are unconstitutional but has nonetheless asked the Supreme Court to put the states' right to administer its prisons before the constitutional rights of individuals who are wards of the state.