LOS ANGELES — California received a 30-day extension on a deadline to reduce prison overcrowding in a ruling Tuesday from three federal judges.
The Dec. 31 deadline to reduce the prison population to 137.5% of capacity was extended in the Sept. 24 ruling that also provided time for negotiations between the state's lawyers and those representing the inmates in the 23-year-old lawsuit.
The federal order came with instructions that the state not sign any further contracts for private prison beds out of state.
The directive comes one day after California signed a five-year, $30-million-a-year contract with Geo Group to lease two prison facilities in Kern and San Bernardino counties, giving the state room for 1,400 prisoners, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The state had been negotiating other contracts, including with Corrections Corp. of America, which owns a prison in California City currently used to house federal immigration detainees. It also sought to secure added capacity at private prisons outside of California.
A plan by Gov. Jerry Brown concentrated on out-of-state contracts for the private prison beds needed to reduce overcrowding by Dec. 31.
Brown and state lawmakers had asked for a three-year extension to reduce the prison population to institute programs to reduce the state's incarceration rate through community probation and rehabilitation programs.