. . . a remarkable series of court decisions and compromises between the Brown administration and lawyers for the inmates during the past year have led to what the two sides agree is the most progress in many years in cooperation to change inmate care inside the nation’s largest corrections system.
“From the beginning of 2014 to now, what we’re seeing is we went from total war with the (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) ... to where there’s been a lot of cooperation and progress,” said Michael Bien, the lead attorney for prisoners in a 25-year fight to change conditions and treatment for mentally ill inmates, who now number 30,000.
In the past year, the state has cut its inmate population dramatically, and is ahead of schedule to meet the judges’ orders that it reduce the number of prisoners to 137.5 percent of design capacity in the state’s 34 adult prisons.
The judges required a population cut to 141.5 percent of design capacity by Feb. 28, 2015, and the latest figures show the state already has reached 140 percent, or 115,604 inmates. In all likelihood, it will meet the final target – about 113,720 inmates – well in advance of the Feb. 28, 2016, deadline.