Well, not in so many words — but he still does. You’ll see what I mean.

A couple of liberal federal judges have control of California’s prison system, and they’re considering a plan that could release thousands of prisoners upon society all at once:

Federal judges who have been trying for more than a decade to improve medical care in California’s overcrowded prisons called Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s latest plans insufficient and cleared the way Monday for a three-judge panel to cap the state’s prison population.

The rare move has the potential to trigger the release of inmates, though experts say less drastic measures also might appease the judges, who years ago found medical and mental care in California’s 33 prisons unconstitutional.

I love this oh-so-ironic line penned by Judge Lawrence Karlton:

“The court wishes to observe again that overcrowding is the state’s problem, and in the interim, the court again urges the state to find its own solution to the crisis,” he wrote.

Why is it ironic? Because it’s the federal government’s fault that my state of California is in this mess to begin with. Yet the judge is right: somehow, it’s still our problem.

How is it the federal government’s fault? I’m so glad you asked.

You see, were it not for the thousands of illegals that California is paying to incarcerate in state prison — illegals that the federal government should be keeping out and deporting — we wouldn’t have the overcrowding problem we have. We’d be well within safe and reasonable capacity for the prisons.

Here’s how the math works. Let’s look at a revealing passage from Judge Karlton’s opinion yesterday. Skim it if you have to; it’s deadly dull. Don’t worry, I’ll summarize it after the block quote:

Defendants plan to add 12,000 prison “in-fill” beds by 2009. . . . It is not at all clear, however, that an additional 12,000 beds, even if timely completed, will alleviate the population crisis. As noted above, in June 2004 the independent panel on corrections found that a male inmate population of approximately 141,000 exceeded by 4,000 the “safe and reasonable” capacity of the California prison system . . . The male prison population projected for March 2009 is over 162,000 inmates and exceeds the population analyzed in the 2004 report by approximately 21,000 inmates, or 9,000 more inmates than new beds planned.

This is a long-winded and judicial way of saying that in 2009, there will be 13,000 too many male inmates in California’s state prisons.

But here’s the thing. The Washington Post says: “More than 10 percent of California’s prison population is in the United States illegally.” Calculating 10% is easy math; even an English major like me can do it. You chop off the last zero and you’re done. So: more than 10% of 162,000 (the number of male inmates projected in 2009) is more than 16,200.

So in 2009, there will be 13,000 too many male inmates . . . and more than 16,000 illegal male inmates.

Do the math. If none of those illegals were imprisoned in California, we’d be within the “safe and reasonable” capacity of the system by about 3,000 inmates.

But the state can’t monitor the border. That’s a federal function. The state can’t deport illegals. That’s a federal function.

Why, if the people of my state of California even try to restrict benefits to illegals, a la Proposition 187, some federal judge will tell us that we’re stepping on exclusively federal domain.

Meanwhile, illegals overrun our society, including our prison system, and another federal judge tells us that “overcrowding is the state’s problem.”

Are you getting the irony yet?

It’s like one cop cuffing your hands behind your back, and his partner slapping you around because you won’t raise your hands above your head.

Irony.

Or, I would call it, a pure outrage.

P.S. Where did I get this analysis? Why, from the L.A. Times, of course!

I’m kidding! Jeez, calm down. I hope I didn’t cause anybody to stroke out.

No, of course, despite the fact that illegal immigration is a huge and obvious factor in our prison overpopulation problem, the L.A. Times doesn’t breathe a word of it. Never will.

You’ll have to come here for that. (Or to my blog, where this item was originally posted.)