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Collateral Consequences of Interstate Transfer of Prisoners

NCJ Number
Randall G. Shelden, Ph.D.; Selena Teji, J.D.
Date Published
July 2012
9 pages
This report identifies the cost-benefit to California of bringing back into the State offenders who had been transferred to out-of-State private prison facilities in order to reduce overcrowding in California prisons.
In 2011, the Supreme Court ordered the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to take actions immediately that would reduce the State prison overcrowding to 137-percent capacity. As a result, California has undertaken sweeping criminal justice reforms that realign responsibility for low-level offenders to the counties under Assembly Bill 109. Prior to the Supreme Court mandate, California had been addressing prison overcrowding by using out-of-State private prisons. In April 2012, the CDCR released plans to return out-of-State inmates to State facilities and terminate its contracts with private out-of-State facilities by FY 2015-16. This proposal estimates a saving of $318 million. In addition to cost savings, returning out-of-State inmates is sound public policy. Incarceration not only affects offenders, but also impacts their families, community, and the public at large research shows that visitation significantly impacts recidivism upon release, thus improving long-term public safety. The consequences of incarceration increase significantly when an inmate is located out-of-State, since the expenses for family visitation increase, reducing the number of visits and the benefits of personal contact. By April 2012, approximately 9,500 Californian inmates were being held in out-of-State private facilities. Under the 5-year realignment plan, CDCR details a staggered elimination of the use of out-of-State contract facilities by 2015-16. Housing low-security inmates in county facilities under Assembly Bill 109 will further increase inmates' contacts with spouses and children, while sharing the cost of incarceration between the State and counties. 1 table and 37 references