California to transfer more inmates to private prisons out of state

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California prison officials announced plans Monday to transfer thousands more inmates out of state to private prisons. The move’s a way to relieve overcrowding in state prisons.

Back in 2006, Governor Schwarzenegger declared a state emergency in California’s prisons due to overcrowded conditions he said threatened inmates and prison guards. That proclamation authorized the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to temporarily transfer 7,900 inmates out of state over the last 3 years.

The departments’ Gordon Hinkle says the transfers enabled California to get rid of thousands of makeshift cells erected in prison day rooms and gymnasiums. "One of the things we’ve been trying to do in California is to shut down any of the 'bad beds' or dorm-type living situations which creates a higher security risk not only for the inmates but for also for the correctional officers that are working to supervise them."

Under an amended contract with the Corrections Corporation of America, one of the largest private prison operators in the country, California will be able to transfer an additional 2,300 high-security inmates to the company’s facilities in Arizona, Mississippi, and Oklahoma. The transfers are expected to begin early next year.