Negotiations break down to solve California's prison overcrowding

California's Corcoran State Prison.
California's Corcoran State Prison.
Grant Slater/KPCC

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Talks have broken down between state officials and attorneys representing California prison inmates in an effort to resolve a lawsuit that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Attorneys with the Prison Law Office have been meeting with state officials to work out an agreement on how to alleviate overcrowding in the state prison system. In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that found inadequate health care in the prison system, and calling prison conditions "unconstitutional" due to inmate overcrowding.

The state has made some progress, substantially reducing the inmate population and ramping up medical services. But state officials have said they would be unable to meet a rapidly approaching court-imposed deadline and have asked for a two-year extension. The judges in the case wanted the parties involved to come to their own agreement on a plan for complying with the court order.

Instead, in an order issued Monday, the judges wrote; "it appears that no such agreement will be reached."

They've given each side until January 23 to submit their own proposals for reducing overcrowding. The court is expected to issue a decision on the state's request for an extension within 30 days.