California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plan to ease prison overcrowding by sending convicts out of state has been allowed to proceed while a court weighs a legal challenge, reports the Los Angeles Times. Prison officials plan to transfer 5,000 inmates to out-of-state prisons by the end of the year. Relocating prisoners is a key element of Schwarzenegger’s plan to show a federal judge that the state is moving aggressively to ease overcrowding. A new law allows the state to transfer up to 8,000 inmates against their will until 2012. About 360 inmate volunteers already have been moved to lockups in Arizona and Tennessee.
An appeals court is reviewing a lower court ruling in favor of a suit filed by the California Correctional and Peace Officers Association, which A Sacramento County Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the prison guards in late February opposing the transfers. The governor says the shifts, “will provide much-needed space for rehabilitation programs.”