California pays for nearly 8,000 out-of-state prison beds |

California pays for nearly 8,000 out-of-state prison beds

Associated Press

SACRAMENTO (AP) ” Corrections officials said Friday that they have reached agreement with a private prison company to transfer another 3,600 inmates to an out-of-state facility.

The contract with Correctional Corp. of America will bring the total number of prisoners sent out of state to the nearly 8,000 allowed under a state law approved this year to ease prison crowding.

Correctional Corp. of America will add space for the 3,060 inmates at its new La Palma Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona under the contract with the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The new contract will cost California taxpayers $48 million this fiscal year, which runs through June. The state already is renting 4,712 prison beds in Arizona, Mississippi and Tennessee from the Nashville-based company at a cost of $67 million this year.

The contracts with Correctional Corp. of America run through 2011. The department says that will provide enough time for the state to build enough new prison and jail cells to hold 53,000 inmates under a $7.8 billion building plan approved by state lawmakers in April.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says the new cells and out-of-state transfers should prevent a special three-judge federal panel from imposing a cap on the in-state prison population to ease overcrowding.

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About 18,000 of the state’s 173,000 inmates are sleeping in gymnasiums and classrooms. “””

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Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.