California adds another private prison


This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.

SACRAMENTO -- California corrections officials have agreed to lease another private prison within the state, telling the GEO Group it will get $9 million a year to house some 260 female inmates at a facility north of Bakersfield.

The four-year contract for the McFarland Community Reentry Facility will house women serving the final portion of their prison terms. The Florida-based prison operator said in a statement to investors Tuesday that it expects to begin accepting inmates by this fall, and that the contract allows occupancy to be doubled within the year. GEO already has contracts to house 2,000 male prisoners in McFarland and Adelanto.


One out of 10 California inmates is serving time in a leased or private prison as the state grapples with federal court orders to reduce crowding in its own institutions. Women’s prisons are the most cramped: The Central California Women’s Facility at Chowchilla is listed at 182% capacity in last week’s state prison census report, with 1,600 prisoners more than it was intended to hold.

In a report to the Legislature on Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration said it was 500 inmates over judges’ interim goal of reducing crowding statewide by June to 143%. The administration has yet to roll out elderly and expanded medical parole programs the judges had also ordered to ease crowding.

More than 4,170 inmates are in leased prisons within the state, including 1,424 in lockups operated by California counties. Another 8,763 inmates are in private prisons outside of the state run by Corrections Corp. of America.

[For the Record, 6:00 p.m. PST, April 2: A previous version of this post said The GEO Group uses union guards at its California prisons. It does not. Union guards are employed by the private prison at California City operated by Corrections Corp. of America.

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