New Plan Would Return Calif. Inmates to State Prisons by June 2016


California inmates currently housed in out-of-state facilities will be returned to state prisons in stages through June 30, 2016, according to a plan submitted to U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Karlton on Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times‘ “PolitiCal” reports.

Karlton previously had directed state officials to explain in writing their plan to stop sending inmates to private prisons to reduce overcrowding (St. John, “PolitiCal,” Los Angeles Times, 2/6).

Background

About six years ago, U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson appointed federal receiver J. Clark Kelso to oversee the state’s prison health care system after determining that an average of one inmate per week died as a result of malpractice or neglect.

In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered California to reduce its inmate population to help improve prison health care (California Healthline, 1/30). The state responded by transferring certain prisoners to private, out-of-state facilities.

However, the Brown administration several months ago announced its intention to return the inmates to California.

According to state prison population reports, California had 8,852 inmates in four out-of-state prisons run by Tennessee-based Correction Corp. of America as of Jan. 30.

Details of Plan

According to the plan filed by Brown’s lawyer, 4,527 inmates will finish their prison terms at out-of-state facilities. The plan noted that an average of 110 inmates are paroling out of the prisons each month.

The remaining 4,325 prisoners will be returned to California facilities in stages through June 2016, according to the plan.

The filing said, “The gradual return of these inmates will allow the state to avoid bunking inmates in prison gymnasiums or other makeshift housing units again.”

However, it stated that the end of private prison contracts will have no effect on the delivery of mental health care to inmates.

More Time To Reduce Prison Overcrowding

On Jan. 29, a three-judge panel — which included Karlton — granted California six additional months to comply with federal orders to reduce prison overcrowding (“PolitiCal,” Los Angeles Times, 2/6).

According to the judges, California officials have said that they cannot meet the federal deadline of June 30 for reducing the inmate population by 137.5% of design capacity. However, the judges said that state officials believe they can make the reduction by Dec. 31.

The judges wrote, “Accordingly, this court modifies the June 30, 2011, order by granting defendants a six-month extension in which to comply with its terms and provisions”

Via California HealthLine

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