Dec 13, 2014 1:29 PM by News Staff
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Inmates who work as janitors, cooks and groundskeepers in California's overcrowded prisons would be eligible for early release under a proposed legal settlement.
The settlement was filed Friday in federal court, where judges would need to approve it before any changes take effect.
The Los Angeles Times reports that an estimated 4,300 inmates who form the backbone of the prison system's menial labor force could start earning sharply reduced sentences as early as January.
The settlement represents a change for state officials, who had argued that minimum custody inmates are vital laborers whose sentences should not be cut.
Corrections Department spokeswoman Deborah Hoffman told the newspaper that the state agreed to the settlement following negotiations with lawyers for inmates that the court had ordered.
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