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Plan to Close 5 Private Prisons Advances

April 10, 2002|From a Times Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO -- Lawmakers gave initial approval Tuesday to Gov. Gray Davis' plan to shut five prisons housing about 1,400 low-risk inmates, but administration officials insisted that California's influential prison guards union, a major donor to the governor, had no sway over the proposal.

The Assembly budget subcommittee vote was unanimous and came as supporters of the private prisons--including some former inmates and some residents of the small towns where the facilities are located--packed the Capitol hearing room. Some charged that the California Correctional Peace Officers Assn., long a foe of the nonunion private facilities, influenced the decision.

Department of Corrections Director Edward S. Alameida denied that. Alameida said the proposal "has nothing to do with the union."

The state Senate is to take up the proposal later this month.

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