California is taking steps to return some inmates who have been serving sentences at out-of-state facilities under a prison realignment initiative, California Watch reports (Montgomery, California Watch, 7/12).
About six years ago, U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson appointed 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 May 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered California to reduce its inmate population to help improve prison health care (California Healthline, 6/11).
The state sent inmates to prisons in Arizona, Mississippi and Oklahoma that are operated by Corrections Corporation of America.
Currently, about 9,500 California inmates are serving sentences at out-of-state facilities.
Details of Plan To Return Inmates
California's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is slated to return the inmates to California facilities by 2016 under a strategic plan announced in April.
Last month, Brown signed the plan into law.
Matthew Cate -- secretary of CDCR -- said the state "immediately" will begin the process of returning 600 inmates that have been serving sentences in Arizona facilities (California Watch, 7/12).
Additional Details of Strategic Plan
The strategic plan signed by Brown also would:
- Change CDCR staffing levels and ratios to reflect the smaller inmate population;
- Establish more cost-effective prison housing;
- Improve and expand prison health care facilities and rehabilitative services; and
- Reduce the operational General Fund budget of CDCR by nearly half-a-billion dollars next year and by more than $1.5 billion over the next several years (CDCR release, 6/28).