Tuesday, December 6, 2011

San Bernardino County Doesn't Want a Private Prison

As a result of the decision in Brown v. Plata this spring, California has been ordered to reduce its state prison population by approximately 40,000 prisoners because overcrowding was so severe that the state could not provide medical care to the population that was sufficient enough to not violate their right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.  Governor Jerry Brown has decided to force these prisoners on county jails, and some of the private facilities that have held state prisoners are being shuttered in the process.

One of those is the Desert View CF, run by the GEO Group.  The prison is closing and the San Bernardino sheriff's office has already stated that it has no intention of signing a contract with the GEO Group, or any other private prison company for that matter, to operate it.  A spokeswoman for the department said, "It's not something the county is considering...it's too costly."


  1. Overcrowding is a serious issue in prisons in general. They are expensive to maintain but it's also not a good idea to release everyone due to overcrowding.

    1. I agree on both points. The objective of the Plata decision is not to just release everyone, it's to determine which prisoners can safely be released, including using things like home confinement and gps monitoring, to ease the burden on the system. Because, as it stands, the system is so overcrowded that it can't possibly deliver proper healthcare to the prisoners. At one point, a study revealed that a prisoner died a preventable death every week because of an illness that had gone untreated.

      There are options other than prison that CA and other jurisdictions can employ to monitor offenders, that often come at a far lower cost than incarceration. Unfortunately, the GEO Group is getting into the monitoring business as well (they purchased a company called BI Inc., which makes GPS ankle bracelets, about a year ago), so there will still be risks involved in that. But home confinement or GPS monitoring is far cheaper than locking someone up.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!