Prison officials seek delay in meeting inmate population target; case focuses on medical care

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SACRAMENTO, California — California prison officials are asking for a two-month delay to meet their first court-ordered target for reducing the state's inmate population, after federal judges changed rules at the last minute.

Monday was the deadline for the state to reduce the population of its 34 adult prisons to 143 percent of their designed capacity. They missed the mark by 216 inmates.

Prison officials expected to meet the goal until the judicial panel ruled last week that they could count only part of the capacity of California's newest prison, a medical and mental health hospital in Stockton.

That decision removed about 2,350 beds from the system's design capacity.

The judges invited the state to seek the extension, acknowledging that their ruling a week before the deadline left officials little time to adjust.

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