Judge Lets Transfer Of 2,260 California Inmates Despite Legal Fears

Thursday, November 23rd 2006, 6:11 am
By: News On 6

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- A state judge decides to let California send 2,360 inmates to other states, including Oklahoma, to relieve prison crowding.

Superior Court Judge Gail Ohanesian says two state employee unions are reasonably likely to win their lawsuit against the state over the transfer, but the groups can't prove they're suffering enough immediate irreparable harm to justify a preliminary injunction.

The state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation flew 80 inmates to a private prison in Tennessee on November 3rd, and plans more transfers next month to private prisons in Arizona, Indiana, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

Unions representing prison guards and other employees sued, arguing the move violates a prohibition in the state Constitution against using private companies for jobs usually performed by state employees.

Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in October to permit the no-bid private contracts, but the unions say that declaration also violated the law.