California To Force Inmate Transfers

Friday, February 2nd 2007, 9:24 pm
By: News On 6

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) California prison officials say thousands of convicts will be transferred out of state to ease an overcrowding crisis.

According to Corrections Secretary James Tilton, the prisons are "severely overcrowded, and the need for more space is absolutely critical." He says the decision is being made "to protect public safety."

Tilton says private prisons in Oklahoma, Mississippi and Arizona are likely to receive the transferred inmates.

Late last year, a federal judge warned that he would start releasing inmates early or prohibit convicts from being sent to state prisons from county jails unless the state acted immediately to ease overcrowding.

The threat followed an executive order signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in October authorizing voluntary and involuntary transfers of up to five thousand inmates.

The first transfers could start within days.