A panel of federal judges ruled, according to the Los Angeles Times, that California must release 43,000 prisoners due to overcrowding.
The court, in its 185 page opinion ordered that the population of California's prisons be limited to 137.5% of its design capacity. California prisons are now at 190% of their capacity.
According the U.S. District Court Web site, the court ruled "the overcrowding in the prisons led to 'criminogenic' conditions, which resulted in more crimes being committed by former prisoners and an increase in the recidivism rate."
The court also determined that "with adequate safeguards and improved rehabilitation and re-entry programs, the state could ensure that the order would result in an increase in public safety."
The court gave the state 45 days to come up with a plan to release the prisoners.
Atty. Gen. Gerry Brown told the Los Angeles Times that the state would comply with the order to to come up with a plan to release the prisoners. The governor already had a proposal to cut the populatation of California's prisons by 37,000 over two years in the works.
However, according to the Los Angeles Times, Brown expressed criticism of the decision that he shared with other Califorinia officiala not happy with the judges decision.
The courts are ordering the state to come up with a plan to release all these prisoners, but the question is: Which prisoners? Release to what -- halfway houses, GPS monitoring? And what happens when they commit another crime -- do they come back? There's a lot that is not clear," Brown saiid in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
However, State Corrections Secretary Matt Cate told KCBS, a San Francisco based radio station, that the state's lawyers are studying an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"To the extent that it requires us to just essentially open the gates, we're going to appeal, because we don't agree," Cate said.