California's legal equivalent to a Hail Mary pass failed Tuesday, with the U.S. Supreme Court again refusing to stop an order to shrink the state's prison population by as many as nine thousand inmates.
The justices issued a one sentence rejection of Gov. Jerry Brown's request to essentially rehear the case that the state lost in 2011 -- an effort to block a panel of three federal judges from ordering a possible early release of inmates.
The state's reaction: disappointed, but probably not surprised.
"In the last two years, California has made the most significant reforms to our criminal justice system in decades, reducing the prison population by 25,000 inmates," said Deborah Hoffman, assistant secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
As such, state officials say they're moving forward on asking the panel of judges to, themselves, extend the deadline beyond the short reprieve given last month. An update on negotiations between the state and attorneys representing the inmate plaintiffs in the lawsuits prompting years of debate is expected next week.
And Brown's administration is moving forward on shipping prisoners to other lockups. On Tuesday, a three year $85.5 million contract was signed with a private company to lease a private prison in Kern County. That facility is expected to house about 2,300 inmates.