San Francisco, January 19, 2009 – The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected California’s challenge to a temporary August 4, 2009 court order by a three-judge federal panel that required the state to reduce its prison population by 40,000 inmates over the next two years in order to improve medical and mental health care in the state’s prisons.

This decision does not, however, mean that all potential appeals to the Supreme Court are exhausted.  On January 12, 2010 the same federal panel issued a permanent order that reaffirmed the requirement that the state reduce its prison population, citing the “long standing failure to provide constitutionally adequate medical and mental health care.”  A spokesperson for the Governor said that the state will appeal this permanent ruling to the Supreme Court.

“It would be a victory for the people of the State of California if the Governor dropped all further appeals and settled this case now,” said Michael Bien of Rosen, Bien & Galvan, who is co-lead counsel for plaintiffs in the case, along with Don Specter of Prison Law office.  “In its order the panel provided a roadmap for addressing the inhumane conditions in our prisons, while improving public safety, and reducing the enormous budget deficit that is crippling the state.  Last week, the three-judge panel approved the Governor’s plan to reduce overcrowding.  Let’s get on with it.”