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Law & Justice

California's prison population drops

The state came close to meeting its first court-imposed benchmark for reducing the prison population last week. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, readying its January 10 report to the federal court in the Northern District of California, announced it’s currently operating at 169.2 percent of its designed capacity. That number nearly hits the 167-percent figure the court demanded California meet by December 27, 2011.

In actual numbers, that means that the prison population has fallen by about 8,000 inmates since October–and should continue to drop at its current rate of about 900 a week.

Meanwhile, the state is shutting down some of its “ugly beds”–the bunks the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation erected in gyms, day rooms, and other places not designed for habitation in order to accommodate a burgeoning population of prisoners over the last couple of decades. As a result, several prisons look pretty different than they did a few months ago (slideshow above).