Inmate population reduction eliminates iconic symbol of overcrowding crisis
SACRAMENTO— After more than two decades of using non-traditional beds, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is no longer double- and triple-bunking inmates in areas that were not designed for housing, such as gymnasiums and dayrooms.
On February 23, CDCR removed the last of such beds and has begun renovation projects.
“Non-traditional beds became the iconic symbol of California’s prison overcrowding crisis,” CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate said. “Now, gyms once filled with inmates in triple-bunk beds are open and can be used for their intended purpose. This demonstrates how much progress California has made in improving inmate conditions and employee safety.”
On October 25, 2006, CDCR reached its all-time-high inmate population of 173,479, more than 200 percent of design capacity in its 33 adult institutions. August 2007 marked the peak of CDCR’s use of non-traditional beds at 19,618 in 72 gyms and 125 dayrooms.
On May 23, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed an order from a federal Three-Judge Court that the State of California must reduce its inmate population to 137.5 percent of design capacity within two years.
Last year, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed Assembly Bills AB 109 and AB 117, historic legislation to address the Court’s order in a safe, effective way, while providing local governments with funding for Realignment and without early releases of state prison inmates.
California’s prison population has declined rapidly with the implementation of public safety realignment and actions by CDCR to reduce the state inmate population. As of February 15, 2012, CDCR’s inmate population in its 33 adult institutions was 127,770.
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