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Governor Schwarzenegger: Send California Inmates to Mexico

By Kamika Dunlap on February 08, 2010 2:05 PM

California is still figuring out how to address its prison problems. One part of the plan has been the early release of some inmates. Another way perhaps to ease its overcrowded prison system might be to send thousands of undocumented California inmates to specially built jails in Mexico.

Early release of prisoners looks like it could reduce the prison population by about 6,500 inmates over the next year.

Shipping some inmates to Mexico is the latest idea being floated by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as a cost-cutting measure, the Associated Press recently reported. Governor Schwarzenegger said exporting 20,000 inmates that are illegal immigrants to jails south of the border could help the state's finances by billions of dollars.

Governor Schwarzenegger has said it's cheaper to build prisons in Mexico; and it's cheaper to staff prisons there too.

As previously discussed, under a state law signed as part of last year's budget package, the state is mandated to have a plan to adequately reduce its prison population. California was ordered by a panel of federal judges to cut its prison population by over 40,000 in the next two years.

In addition to the early release of California inmates, the state will stop its monitoring of low-level offenders after their release. That is designed to reduce the number of parolees returned to prison, essentially because the state will not know if they are violating the terms of their parole.

Victims' rights advocates, as well as members of law enforcement, are calling the early release program a threat to public safety.

According to 2007 data, California has some of the most overcrowded prisons in the United States, with an estimated 170,000 inmates housed in facilities designed for 100,000 people.

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