The U.S. Supreme Court today ordered California to open the floodgates at its state prisons and unleash 37,000 of its 140,000 or so inmates.

You can bet that a good portion of those 33,000 or so inmates 37,000 would end up right back here in L.A. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has said that, if it happens, the release would be his biggest challenge as L.A.'s top cop.

The union representing LAPD officers, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, has also been dead against such a release. LAPPL president Paul M. Weber said last year:

The people being considered for release are convicted felons, many of whom have plea bargained their crimes down to lesser offenses. A large number of them are parole violators – in other words, they are people who have already proven they cannot remain law abiding after being released from prison.

The Supreme Court voted 5-4 in favor of the release, but gave California two years to get it done.

The majority cited inhumane conditions — calling it cruel and unusual punishment — for a prison system that has been at 175 percent of capacity.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote that the overcrowding, especially for inmates with serious medical and mental health issues, results in “needless suffering and death.”

Justice Antonin Scalia dissented and called the ruling “perhaps the most radical injunction issued by a court in our nation's history.”

[Read some deeper background on the case at WitnessLA].

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