The inmates were transferred to the Tallahatchie County Detention Facility in Tutwiler, Mississippi, joining a group of 40 that were sent from California last week.
Including 316 inmates housed in the Florence (Arizona) Detention Facility and 80 in the West Tennessee Correctional Facility, today’s transfers bring to 476 the number of California inmates housed in private correctional facilities, all of which are operated by the Correctional Corporation of America (CCA), based in Nashville, Tenn.
“Temporary out of state inmate transfers will provide immediate relief to California’s prison system, while the rest of the Governor’s comprehensive reforms are implemented,” said James Tilton, Secretary for Corrections and Rehabilitation. “Relieving overcrowding will improve the safety of our prisons both for inmates and staff. It will also give us breathing room to restore rehabilitation programs, reduce inmate population that will increase access to medical care, and ultimately protect public safety by reducing recidivism rates.”
The transfer of inmates out of state was begun in response to an Emergency Order issued by Governor Schwarzenegger in October 2006, but was halted in November while the state’s authority to move the inmates was challenged in lawsuits. In February 2007, Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 900, The Public Safety and Offender Rehabilitation Act of 2007, that clarified the authority of CDCR to temporarily transfer inmates to private facilities in other states, which was resumed on June 1.
CDCR expects to begin transferring larger groups of inmates in the next several weeks, resulting in up to 400 inmates each month being moved to out-of-state facilities. Approximately 8,000 inmates will be transferred by March 2009. Transfers will continue thereafter as needed, as AB 900 authorizes them until July 1, 2011.
Inmates transferred to out-of-state facilities undergo a comprehensive medical screening. Only those inmates who meet criteria established by the federal court appointed Receiver overseeing inmate medical care are eligible for transfer.
CDCR’s contract with CCA is for 4,056 beds and discussions with other private correctional companies are expected. A CCA facility in North Fork, Oklahoma is also likely to house California inmates.