Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Inmates at Chino State Prison exercise in the yard December 10, 2010 in Chino, California. The U.S. Supreme Court is preparing to hear arguments to appeal a federal court's ruling last year that the California state prison system would have to release 40,000 prisoners to cope with overcrowding so severe that it violated their human rights. More than 144,000 inmates are currently incarcerated in prisons that were designed to hold about 80,000.
Last month, California voters approved Proposition 36, the initiative overhauled the state's controversial three strikes law. From now on, only felons with a violent third strike will be sentenced to life.
Those previously sentenced can petition to have their sentences commuted, and over the past few weeks inmates throughout California have been working hard to make that happen. But many of them are finding it more difficult than they expected.
For more on this we're joined by Michael Montgomery, a reporter with Center for Investigative Reporting and California Watch.