Sacramento Judge Gail Ohanesian ruled the transfers were illegal. She said Schwarzenegger did not have the authority to declare a state of emergency for the prisons because it’s a statewide issue – not a local disaster requiring a response from state government. The state has already transferred about 400 prisoners out-of-state.
Schwarzenegger says he will appeal immediately. In a statement, he called the ruling a threat to public safety. A federal judge has given California until June to address overcrowding….and some fear the courts could release prisoners early. Corrections Secretary Jim Tilton says the transfers were his best short-term solution – but he’s looking for others now:
“I’ve met with the sheriff’s of the state – they’re out looking to find out if there’s any bed available in the state that I could put inmates in. So we’re looking at that. We’re evaluating every available facility.”
The lawsuit was filed by two unions representing prison workers. They claimed the transfers were unconstitutional because they took jobs away from state workers.