Supreme Court Orders California To Free Thousands From Crowded Prisons

Source: M. Alex Johnson / NBC News

The U.S. Supreme Court refused Friday to let California delay the release of thousands of inmates from state prisons to relieve crowding.

In June, a lower court ordered California to release about 10,000 inmates — nearly 8 percent of all state prisoners — by the end of the year to improve to improve medical and mental health treatment. Gov. Jerry Brown last month asked the Supreme Court to delay the order, arguing that it would jeopardize public safety.

Justice Antonin Scalia, joined by Justice Samuel Alito, strongly dissented with the high court’s 6-3 one-sentence order Friday, predicting a wave of murders and rapes in the streets of California. Justice Clarence Thomas also disagreed but didn’t join Scalia’s dissent.

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