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California prisoner transfers to private out-of-state facilities to begin in November

[JURIST] California state corrections officials say that an emergency proclamation [JURIST report; text] by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger [official website] aimed at relieving prison overcrowding by transferring prisoners to out-of-state facilities is set for implementation next month. The program, intending to reduce the overcrowding of 172,000 inmates in facilities designed for about 100,000, is intended to relieve the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) [official website], which has been forced to house more than 15,000 inmates in gymnasiums and auditoriums. By March 2007 some 2,260 inmates will be transferred to facilities operated by Corrections Corp of America [corporate website] and The GEO Group, Inc [corporate website] in Arizona, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. A spokesperson for the CDCR said that the measures were cost-effective, as California is expected to pay private companies $63 dollars a day for each inmate, cheaper than the costs of housing them in California.

The CDCR estimated in early-October that without the emergency measures, it will run out of beds as early as June 2007. The measures are expected to free up space until June 2008, which will give the state legislature time to consider proposals to construct more prison cells or reduce the inmate population. California's prison system [JURIST news archive] has come under increased scrutiny after racially motivated riots broke out [JURIST report] earlier this year. The riot prompted a federal judge to order the establishment of an expert panel to help facilitate California prison reform [CDCR backgrounder]. AP has more.

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