Friday, October 5, 2007

CDCR Contracts for Additional Out of State Beds to Reduce Overcrowding

Will Provide for 7,772 Temporary Beds Outside California Through 2011

SACRAMENTO – In its continuing effort to reduce prison overcrowding and increase access to rehabilitation programs, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) today announced that it has signed a second contract with the Correctional Corporation of America (CCA) to temporarily house inmates out of state. This contract provides for an additional 3,060 out of state beds, and combined with earlier agreements, will provide for 7,772 beds by April 2009, as authorized by law.

AB 900, the Public Safety and Offender Rehabilitation Services Act of 2007, was signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger last May and provides for 8,000 out of state transfers through 2011.

“Temporarily transferring inmates out of state will immediately reduce overcrowding, and allow for the Governor’s comprehensive prison reforms to be fully implemented,” said CDCR Secretary James Tilton. “It will allow for emergency beds in places like gymnasiums and dayrooms to be taken down, and increase access to medical and mental health care, and effective rehabilitation programs. “The combination of in-prison rehabilitation programs, intensive services in secure community reentry facilities, and increased parole supervision for high-risk offenders will reduce recidivism and provide long term benefits that will make our communities safer.”

California’s prison system houses an historic high of 173,000 inmates, about 18,000 of whom are sleeping in gyms, dayrooms and other areas of the prisons that were not intended for housing. Transferring inmates to private facilities in other states has already eliminated slightly more than 600 emergency beds, even though the inmate transfers are in their early stages. CDCR anticipates that continued transfer of inmates to private facilities will reduce 2,050 of those inappropriate beds by June, 2008 and 3,800 by June, 2009, when the full allotment of transfers is completed.

The Nashville-based Correctional Corporation of America is contracted to provide 4,712 beds, and currently houses 1,376 California inmates in the West Tennessee Detention Facility, The Tallahatchi (Mississippi) County Detention Facility and the Florence (Arizona) Detention Facility. Under that contract, CCA also is expected to house California inmates in North Fork (Oklahoma).

CDCR began regular movements of inmates to these facilities in June, 2007 and anticipates that 8,000 inmates will be transferred by April, 2009. 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.

To provide additional beds under the newly signed contract, CCA is expected to construct a 3,060 bed facility at its new La Palma Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona. The new contract is estimated at $48 million in this fiscal year, and the previous contract is estimated at $67 million this fiscal year. The contracts are valid through June, 2011, in keeping with provisions of AB 900.

The CCA contract and other information on prison reform efforts is available on the CDCR web site at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov./