California inmates serving their sentences in private prisons out of state now have their first glimpse at whom the state intends to bring back, and when.
In documents filed Wednesday with a U.S. District judge presiding over inmate mental health care, the state disclosed that it intends to let inmates whose prison terms end before July 2016 to serve out the remainder of their sentences in those contract facilities.
That covers 4,527 of the 8,852 California prisoners housed in four prisons run by Corrections Corp. of America.
The state told the court that it will bring back the remaining 4,325 inmates to California in stages. The first stage involves deactivating all contracted CCA beds in Oklahoma and Mississippi by Dec. 27, 2013. That would leave all California inmates at two CCA prisons in Arizona.
California intends to drop the first 1,900 of those Arizona beds by June 30, 2014, lose another 1,536 Arizona beds by June 2015, and the last 1,160 Arizona prison beds by June 2016.
The state's contract with CCA allow inmates to be moved between those facilities, meaning there is no way for current Oklahoma and Mississippi inmates to count on the first wave of returns.
Population projections included in California's filing to the court also show that the state expects a reduction in the number of inmates who are considered eligible for a tour of duty at firefighting camps. That is because under AB 109, newly sentenced low-level, nonviolent offenders now serve their time in county jails. The fire camp population, currently at 4,480 inmates, is projected to drop to 2,500 prisoners by the start of the 2013 fire season.
However, the number of prisoners housed in maximum security and segregated housing units is expected to remain unchanged the next three years, at a little over 20,000 inmates.
--Paige St. John in Sacramento