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Pennsylvania to transfer prisoners out of state to reduce overcrowding

[JURIST] A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections [official website] said Monday that the state will begin transferring prisoners out of state to reduce prison overcrowding [JURIST news archive]. State officials will transfer 2,000 prisoners [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report], with 1,000 going to a facility in Michigan and another 1,000 going to a Virginia prison. The transfers are scheduled to begin by February, and the state hopes to begin bringing the prisoners back by 2013, when four new prisons are set to open [Philadelphia Daily News report]. There are currently about 51,400 prisoners in a state system that was designed to house 44,000.

Pennsylvania is not the first state to transfer prisoners out of state in order to alleviate overcrowding. In 2006, California began transferring [JURIST report] prisoners out of state. California is currently under a federal court order [JURIST report] to reduce its prison population from 190 percent to 137.5 percent by 2011. Last month, the California government submitted a revised plan [JURIST report] for reducing its prison population that includes revisions made possible because of legislative enactments, such as summary parole for lower-level offenses to reduce the amount of inmates re-entering the prison system for parole violations and credit-earning enhancements to reduce time served.

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