Official: California prison plan won't meet federal court order

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday will submit to a panel of three federal judges a plan that would reduce the inmate population at California's overcrowded prisons by substantially less than what the court has ordered, a move that a top prison administrator acknowledged will place state officials at risk of being held in contempt.

Although the final plan will not be submitted until late Friday, administration officials have briefed other parties involved in the court proceedings on its major elements. They said exact projections of how much the prison population will be reduced have not yet been calculated, but the reduction would not lower the population to the court’s standard of 137.5 percent of the prison system’s design capacity.

“This plan will not meet the court’s requirements,” said Lee Seale, deputy chief of staff of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, in a conference call Wednesday with legislative staff members. “I certainly don’t think this panel will be thrilled by this plan. I think we recognize we may be held in contempt.”

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