A lower court had ordered the state to release the inmates because of serious overcrowding in California prisons, but Gov. Jerry Brown asked for a reprieve to protect public safety.
In his dissent joined by Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, Scalia also invoked concerns about safety by asserting that most of the inmates who would be released have been convicted of “serious crimes.”
Scalia predicted that “terrible things” would happen because of a lower court’s “outrageous” decision to order the release of the prisons.
In June, a three-judge panel ordered the release of the prisoners after mentally and physically disabled prisoners filed class actions to force the state to reduce overcrowding.
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