State 'Exports' Ease Prison Overcrowding —At a Cost

Inmates shipped to long-distance exile
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Jul 31, 2007 12:56 PM CDT
State 'Exports' Ease Prison Overcrowding —At a Cost
The gymnasium at San Quentin State Prison is filled with nearly 400 double-bunked inmates because of crowded conditions in San Quentin, Calif., Thursday, June 14, 2007. The federal receiver who controls California's inmate medical system opened a new $1.6 million emergency room for the prison's 6,000...   (Associated Press)

States struggling with prison overcrowding are exporting inmates across borders to serve terms in far-flung private institutions, the New York Times reports. Thousands of prisoners from Hawaii are held in Arizona, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Kentucky. California plans to send 8,000 prisoners out of state. Critics say the policy disrupts families and increases recidivism.

Convicts who keep in touch with family members are less likely to commit new offenses, studies have found. Moves also disrupt rehabilitation programs. "I was on my way to being able to finish a college program and vocational programs to get a trade," said one Arizona prisoner shipped to Indiana. "Here I have to start all over again." (Read more prison stories.)

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