Friday, 06 October 2006 00:17

Gov. Schwarzeneggar Issues An Emergency Proclamation Regarding California Prisons

The governor has issued an emergency proclamation to move forward with housing some California inmates in other states as a result of prison overcrowding. The order will allow the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to immediately contract with out-of-state incarceration facilities to temporarily house prisoners. Corrections officials estimate the state will run out of beds in the state's 33 prisons as soon as January 2007.
Overcrowding is considered severe at 29 of the facilities. "Our prisons are now beyond maximum capacity, and we must act immediately and aggressively to resolve this issue," said Gov. Schwarzenegger in a prepared statement. "I've ordered the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to begin contracting with facilities in other states to transfer inmates to available beds outside of California. These actions are necessary to protect the safety and well being of the officers, inmates and the public." The corrections department is looking at transferring 2,000 to 5,000 inmates for a period of three to five years. Officials are inspecting facilities in Arizona, Oregon, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Indiana, Michigan, Louisiana, Tennessee and Alabama for meeting California's security requirements and other criteria. The first inmates to be relocated will be volunteers. According to the CDCR, more than 15,000 inmates are currently being housed in areas not designed for living space, including gymnasiums, day rooms, and program rooms. Some 1,500 inmates sleep in triple-bunks. The corrections department anticipates that the contracts could reduce the cost of inmate housing compared to costs in California. Indiana will be housing 1,200 California inmates starting in November, according to the state's governor. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels announced Thursday his state will provide housing in unused portions of the New Castle Correctional Facility. He said the agreement will have California inmates transferred to the prison over 90 days beginning next month. It will also create up to 200 jobs, Daniels said.