Officials trying to avoid releasing inmates from overcrowded - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Officials trying to avoid releasing inmates from overcrowded prisons

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Alabama Department of Correction officials are hoping to avoid a mass release of state inmates in 2012.

Officials say many of the prisons are over capacity and they're worried the federal courts will step in to relieve the problem.

State prisons are housing almost double the number of inmates they were designed for. Prison Commissioner Kim Thomas says this year will be challenging for the DOC because of budget restraints.

California's jail system had a similar problem of overcrowding. In May, the U.S. Supreme court ordered California to release 30,000 prisoners.

Justices ruled overcrowding causes inadequate medical and mental health care.

Thomas says the department will soon announce a plan to reduce overcrowding in state prisons.

Copyright 2012 WAFF. All rights reserved. The AP contributed to this report.

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