SACRAMENTO — Without waiting for funding or approval from the Legislature, Gov. Jerry Brown's prison administration has told inmates that it has begun preparations to move thousands of them to private lockups, including prisons out of state.
"Every potentially eligible offender will be screened for transfer.... While a transfer may cause a hardship to you or your families, it is an action the state must pursue in order to comply with a court order," reads a memo distributed Tuesday throughout the state prison system, signed by corrections secretary Jeffrey Beard.
In addition, the corrections department is reducing the time prisoners have to challenge such moves, a separate internal memo distributed Tuesday shows. Previously, inmates identified for transfer out of state were given the chance to consult a lawyer before the classification became official. Now, to expedite moves, legal consultations will not be offered until after a prisoner's move has been approved.
The state also has already identified those prisoners who are eligible for transfer to lower-security prisons that California is considering leasing, including a privately run prison at California City. Reviews of those inmates' files are to begin immediately, the memo states.
Some family members were distressed by the news, and worried that even those prisoners who receive frequent visits from family might be relocated hundreds or thousands of miles away.