California Gov. Jerry Brown plans to increase the state’s use of private prison cells and leases with local jails even if federal judges agree to give the state more time to meet crowding limits within its own lockups, the Los Angeles Times reports. His plan sets aside nearly $500 million to pay for prison contracts to take nearly 17,700 inmates, increases of $100 million and 4,700 prisoners over the current year.
A little more than half of those prisons are out of state. The rest are community correctional centers, which could be run by local governments or private prison operators. Even with that increase in spending, California prisons would remain 3,000 inmates over what federal judges say they can safely hold and still provide adequate health care and psychiatric services. Projections released by the corrections department show that by 2019 the state will have 26,000 more inmates than its prisons would be able to hold under federal crowding caps. That amount is equivalent to the population of seven of the state’s current prisons combined.