KQED — Facing a looming deadline to move about 8,000 inmates out of California’s prison system, Gov. Jerry Brown is once again asking federal judges for an extension. In a request filed Monday, the administration asked the panel to move the deadline from Dec. 31 to the end of 2016.
The extra time would allow California to implement a plan authorized by SB 105, which passed the Legislature last week with near-unanimous support. The state would spend hundreds of millions of dollars on recidivism reduction, job training and other programs designed to keep people out of jail. If the judges reject the request, the state would move forward with a 3-year, $1.1 billion plan moving thousands of inmates to privately run prisons in other states.
But California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation isn’t waiting around for the judge’s response. As Brown and legislative leaders focus attention on their rehabilitation and treatment-centered approach, the department is already laying the groundwork for relocating prisoners. Corrections committees are already screening and processing inmates, looking for possible out-of-state transfer candidates. The actual transfers will likely begin in about two weeks.
That’s leading to panicked phone calls like the one Monay Cherry received from her fiancé, Maurice Vale. “He doesn’t want to go,” she said, recalling the tense conversation. “He was really distracted. And I had to tell him to calm down and go read his Bible."
"The Prisoners Are Terrified"
Vale is an inmate at Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, a vocation-focused prison in San Joaquin County. Cherry said Vale was called in Monday afternoon, along with about 30 other prisoners, and told he’s being processed for an out-of-state transfer. That worries her, she said, because it’s hard enough to visit a prison two hours away. “So if he was to go out of state, I probably wouldn’t be able to make it. And if I did make it, I don’t even know what the criteria is for me to be OK'd (to visit).” continue reading...