By Sam Stanton
Federal judges today granted a one-month extension of their order for the state to cut its inmate population by roughly 8,000 prisoners, giving California until Feb. 24 to achieve the reductions.
The move extends the Jan. 27 deadline and gives the state and attorneys for the inmates more time to negotiate in a "meet and confer" process the three-judge panel ordered earlier.
The two sides had been ordered in September to meet, and today was the deadline for a judge overseeing the process to report back to the federal panel.
The judges earlier had extended their Dec. 31 deadline for the state to reduce the inmate population in its 34 adult prisons to 137.5 percent of capacity, an order issued because of findings that the prisons are so overcrowded inmates are not receiving proper mental health and medical care.
The inmate population of roughly 120,000 must be reduced to about 112,000 unless a settlement agreeable to the judges is reached by Feb. 24.