A story published this summer on the California Watch examined the possibility of bringing back 9,500 California inmates currently serving their term in private institutions run by Correctional Corporation of America in Arizona, Mississippi and Oklahoma.

The grand strategic plan includes a provision for ending out-of-state incarceration, and it’ll begin by bringing back about 600 inmates. This is compounded by the fact that the state’s contract with CCA is based on occupancy rates.

In case you’re wondering who benefits from levels of mass incarceration, the CA Watch story says:

The revised contract will reduce California’s fee to the private prison group by $67 million for the current fiscal year, according to corrections spokeswoman Dana Simas. The state will save another $14 million in 2012 by cutting staff positions for the program, which is administered in Sacramento. 

California is paying the Corrections Corporation $61 to $72 per prison bed per day, making the original contract worth more than $280 million for 2012-13, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office and corrections department figures.

The fiscal challenges involved in bringing back inmates involve the need to provide adequate housing and health care and the potential need for more construction. But if the total number of inmates to be returned to the state is less than 10,000, that would still render the prisons less crowded than they were in the pre-Plata era.

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