California faced a prison crisis: in order to comply with a federal court order that California’s prison population be reduced by almost 10,000 prisoners by year’s end, California had to either release those prisoners early, or it had to find someplace to put them. With a cost approaching nearly a billion dollars over the next three years to find alternate incarceration possibilities, there was much talk about simply releasing prisoners early to make space. But now, bowing to political pressure from law and order groups (including police and sheriff’s organizations as well as prosecutors), California is going in a different direction. The new plan is to ask the federal judges for more time to comply (which is highly unlikely to be granted).
It is almost certain the federal judges will either refuse to extend the time (or grant a very short continuance). Once they say NO, the state then plans on spending hundreds of millions of dollars to house prisoners in private jails and opening shuttered county facilities in the central valley. There is even talk of contracting out-of-state facilities to house a portion of the prison population.
The one thing that is certain at this point: there will be no early releases from state prisons in California. (County facilities such as LA, however, will continue to release prisoners ahead of schedule).