A federal court gave California two more years Monday to reduce the population of its overcrowded prisons, yielding to pressure from state officials who said they could meet an impending deadline only by shipping thousands of inmates to other states, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The three-judge court had initially set a June 2013 deadline for the state to lower the inmate population to 37.5 percent above its designed capacity in order to reduce overcrowding that had undermined prison health care.

The court extended the deadline several times. The latest deadline was Feb. 24, but on Monday, the court said it was reluctantly granting Gov. Jerry Brown's request for another two years. The main reason, the court said, was a warning from state officials that they would respond to an order for immediate compliance by transferring more inmates to prisons in other states, joining 8,900 California prisoners already locked up out of state.

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