Monday, May 21, 2007

Gov. Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Court Ruling Allowing Inmate Transfers to Temporarily Continue

Governor Schwarzenegger issued the following statement after the Third District Court of Appeals granted a stay in the case CCPOA vs. Schwarzenegger, which will allow California to continue to transfer inmates out of state to relieve prison overcrowding while appeals proceed:

"This ruling will allow the state to continue with our plan to transfer inmates out of state while the case is appealed, and will help California avoid a court-ordered release of dangerous felons. Out of state transfers will improve the safety of California's institutions for our correctional officers and staff as well as the inmates, and will provide much needed space for rehabilitation programs. The transferring of inmates out of state is a critical component of the state's overall plan to relieve overcrowding."

BACKGROUND

Beginning in June 2007, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) intends to resume transferring inmates to out-of-state private prison facilities. It is expected that CDCR will process approximately 400 inmates per month for transfer out of state, and that approximately 8,000 inmates will be transferred in total. The recently passed prison reform legislation, AB 900, authorizes involuntary transfers until July 1, 2011.

Inmates selected for transfer to out-of-state facilities must undergo a comprehensive medical screening. Only those inmates who meet the Receiver's medical criteria will be selected for transfer. Transferringinmates out of state will reduce overcrowding, which in turn will decrease the risk of violence and the spread of infectious diseases. Additionally, these transfers will result in reduced staffing requirements; for example, escort officers and medical staff will be better able to serve a smaller population. The transfers will also free space at existing facilities for enhanced medical services. Medical staff will be able to focus on non-emergent services, because reducing prison overcrowding, and in particular the use of non-traditional beds, will ease prison living environments and decrease violence and the spread of infectious diseases.