News Center

Elsewhere Online twitter Facebook SLS Blogs YouTube SLS Channel Linked In SLSNavigator SLS on Flickr

Warnings On Prison Ruling Said Overblown

Publication Date: 
May 24, 2011
Daily Journal
Robert Iafolla

Professor Robert Weisberg spoke with Robert Iafolla of the Daily Journal on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision calling for the reduction of California's prison population, breaking down Justice Anthony M. Kennedy's explanation for it.

In his dissent to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision Monday calling for the reduction of California's prison population by 37,000 inmates in two years, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. warns the court is "gambling" with public safety and the release "will lead to a grim roster of victims."

But criminal justice experts say Alito's alarm is off base.

California has a number of strategies at its disposal to decrease the state prison population short of releasing felons to run rampant in the streets, they said. These options range from transferring prisoners to county jail and modifying the parole system to building out holding capacity and shipping inmates out of state.


Stanford University Law School professor Robert Weisberg said he can understand why that section would "drive Scalia crazy." But with those suggestions, Kennedy appears to be saying the order is technically an injunction, but it can be treated like a negotiation between the state and the lower court, Weisberg added.