More than 500 Scheduled to Be Sent to Arizona to Ease Overcrowding in California
In another step toward reducing overcrowding in California prisons, a second group of inmates has been moved out of state to a correctional facility in Arizona.
A busload of 38 volunteer inmates from a variety of prisons left the San Joaquin Valley early this morning for the Florence Detention Center near Phoenix, Ariz. The facility is operated by the Correctional Corporation of America (CCA), based in Nashville, Tenn.
The group will be followed to Florence, Ariz., by more volunteer inmates over the next six weeks, eventually resulting in approximately 560 California inmates housed there.
The inmate transfers are the result of an emergency proclamation in October by Governor Schwarzenegger to help relieve severe inmate overcrowding in 29 of the state’s 33 prisons. The Governor’s emergency proclamation authorized the CDCR to temporarily move inmates to privately operated correctional facilities in other states to ease the overcrowding. The moves also help CDCR avoid the crisis of running out of beds for inmates, which was estimated to occur by the summer 2007, unless inmates could be sent to other states.
California currently houses an historic high of nearly 174,000 inmates, far more than current prisons are designed to house. The severe overcrowding has forced CDCR to house more than 17,000 inmates in areas not designed for living space, including gymnasiums, dayrooms, and program rooms.
Inmates being transferred over the next six weeks join an original group of 80 California inmates that were moved on November 3 to the West Tennessee Detention Facility near Mason, Tenn. That facility is also operated by CCA.
The CCA has contracted to house up to 1,000 medium-custody level inmates in double cells at four of their facilities. The total annual cost of the CCA contract is approximately $22.9 million. Although CCA operates private institutions, they are required by contract to operate them consistent with all CDCR procedures and California law.
More information regarding prison overcrowding and inmate transfers out-of-state is available on CDCR’s web site at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/.