[JURIST] The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) [official website] Friday began transferring inmates to private detention centers in other states to alleviate overcrowding under the terms California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's October 4 emergency proclamation [JURIST report]. The first transfer flight of 80 inmates was delayed while a lawsuit was heard in the US District Court for the Eastern District of California [official website] claiming that the out-of-state facilities are not equipped to properly treat mentally ill prisoners. Judge Lawrence Karlton declined to issue a restraining order because he did not want to further delay the transfer flight. He nonetheless ordered mental health screening at the destination facility in Tennessee. The lawsuit represents the third challenge to the new prisoner transfer policy. The other lawsuits, which were denied, dealt with union issues and the handling of disabled inmates.
The California prison system has faced severe criticism lately for serious overcrowding. Earlier this month a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order demanding immediate improvement to facilities [JURIST report]. AP has more.