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Jan 8, 2013 Associated Press
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Reducing California's inmate population further to meet a federal order would endanger public safety and require the state to ignore its own sentencing laws, Gov. Jerry Brown warned Tuesday as he challenged judges to reject those options.
After years of changes, the Democratic governor said California would have to grant shorter sentences to inmates convicted of violent or serious felonies to meet the court's mandate.
He also called for restoring the state's authority over its prison system, vowing to take that battle to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
The prison population cap was imposed in 2009 after federal judges blamed crowding for dismal conditions that violated inmates' constitutional rights and resulted in the death of an average of one inmate a week due to neglect or poor care.
The judges gave the state until June to reduce the population of California's 33 adult prisons by about 33,000 inmates, to a total of 110,000 inmates.