SACRAMENTO (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown is asking state lawmakers to approve spending $315 million this year to lease cells in private prisons and jails as an alternative to releasing roughly 9,600 inmates to comply with a federal court order.

The proposal made Tuesday could cost $700 million over two years.

The state faces a year-end deadline to reduce prison overcrowding to comply with federal court orders designed to improve medical care for inmates.

Brown is appealing that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court but has said he wants to avoid a mass release of inmates.

During a news conference, the governor said he wants lawmakers and the courts to let the state rent private cells in California and other states, and to lease excess jail cells from counties.

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