SACRAMENTO — A panel of federal judges Thursday threatened to hold Gov. Jerry Brown and other state officials in contempt of court if they do not quickly produce a plan to remove thousands of convicts from California's packed prisons.
In a blistering 71-page ruling, the jurists rejected Brown's bid to end restrictions they imposed on crowding in the lockups. The state cannot maintain inmate numbers that violate orders intended to eliminate dangerous conditions behind bars, they said.
Brown and other officials "will not be allowed to continue to violate the requirements of the Constitution of the United States," the judges wrote.
"At no point over the past several months have defendants indicated any willingness to comply, or made any attempt to comply, with the orders of this court," they said. "In fact, they have blatantly defied them."
The judges gave the state 21 days to submit a plan for meeting the population target by the end of the year. Administration officials said they would appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.