Prison Overcrowding State of Emergency Proclamation



            WHEREAS, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is required by California law to house inmates committed to state prison; and
 
            WHEREAS, various trends and factors, including population increases, parole policies, sentencing laws, and recidivism rates have created circumstances in which the CDCR is now required to house a record number of inmates in the CDCR prison system, making the CDCR prison system the largest state correctional system in the United States, with a total inmate population currently at an all-time high of more than 170,000 inmates; and
 
            WHEREAS, due to the record number of inmates currently housed in prison in California, all 33 CDCR prisons are now at or above maximum operational capacity, and 29 of the prisons are so overcrowded that the CDCR is required to house more than 15,000 inmates in conditions that pose substantial safety risks, namely, prison areas never designed or intended for inmate housing, including, but not limited to, common areas such as prison gymnasiums, dayrooms, and program rooms, with approximately 1,500 inmates sleeping in triple-bunks; and
 
            WHEREAS, the current severe overcrowding in 29 CDCR prisons has caused substantial risk to the health and safety of the men and women who work inside these prisons and the inmates housed in them, because:
 
            With so many inmates housed in large common areas, there is an increased, substantial risk of violence, and greater difficulty controlling large inmate populations.
 
            With large numbers of inmates housed together in triple-bunks, there is an increased, substantial risk for transmission of infectious illnesses.
 
            The triple-bunks and tight quarters create line-of-sight problems for correctional officers by blocking views, creating an increased, substantial security risk.
 
            WHEREAS, the current severe overcrowding in these 29 prisons has also overwhelmed the electrical systems and/or wastewater/sewer systems, because those systems are now often required to operate at or above the maximum intended capacity, resulting in an increased, substantial risk to the health and safety of CDCR staff, inmates, and the public, because:
 
            Overloading the prison electrical systems has resulted in power failures and blackouts within the prisons, creating increased security threats. It has also damaged fuses and transformers.
                                                                                                                                               
            Overloading the prison sewage and wastewater systems has resulted in the discharge of waste beyond treatment capacity, resulting in thousands of gallons of sewage spills and environmental contamination.   
 
            And when the prisons “overdischarge” waste, bacteria can contaminate the drinking water supply, putting the public’s health at an increased, substantial risk.
 
            WHEREAS, overloading the prison sewage and water systems has resulted in increased, substantial risk of damage to state and privately owned property and has resulted in multiple fines, penalties and/or notices of violations to the CDCR related to wastewater/sewer system overloading such as groundwater contamination and environmental pollution; and
 
            WHEREAS, overcrowding causes harm to people and property, leads to inmate unrest and misconduct, reduces or eliminates programs, and increases recidivism as shown within this state and in others; and
 
            WHEREAS, in addition to all of the above, in the 29 prisons with severe overcrowding, the following circumstances exist:
 
            Avenal State Prison has an operational housing capacity of 5,768 inmates, but it currently houses 7,422 inmates, with 1,654 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 64 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 31 of them against CDCR staff — along with 15 riots/melees, and 27 weapon confiscations. 
 
            The California Correctional Center has an operational housing capacity of 5,724 inmates, but it currently houses 6,174 inmates, with 450 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 128 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 16 of them against CDCR staff — along with 34 riots/melees, and 21 weapon confiscations.
 
            The California Correctional Institution has an operational housing capacity of 4,931, but it currently houses 5,702 inmates, with 771 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 125 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 79 of them against CDCR staff — along with 5 riots/melees, and 57 weapon confiscations.
 
            Centinela State Prison has an operational housing capacity of 4,368, but it currently houses 4,956 inmates, with 588 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 141 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 30 of them against CDCR staff — along with 10 riots/melees, and 151 weapon confiscations.
 
            The California Institution for Men has an operational housing capacity of 5,372, but it currently houses 6,615 inmates, with 1,243 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 170 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 57 of them against CDCR staff — along with 21 riots/melees, and 47 weapon confiscations.
 
            The California Institution for Women has an operational housing capacity of 2,228, but it currently houses 2,624 inmates, with 396 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 65 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 26 of them against CDCR staff — and 6 weapon confiscations.
 
            The California Men’s Colony has an operational housing capacity of 6,294, but it currently houses 6,574 inmates, with 280 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 151 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 33 of them against CDCR staff — along with 11 riots/melees, and 29 weapon confiscations.
 
            The California State Prison at Corcoran has an operational housing capacity of 4,954, but it currently houses 5,317 inmates, with 363 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 147 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 58 of them against CDCR staff — along with 5 riots/melees, and 111 weapon confiscations.
 
            The California Rehabilitation Center has an operational housing capacity of 4,660, but it currently houses 4,856 inmates, with 196 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 65 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 28 of them against CDCR staff — 9 riots/melees, and 34 weapon confiscations.
 
            The Correctional Training Facility has an operational housing capacity of 6,157, but it currently houses 7,027 inmates, with 870 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 85 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 26 of them against CDCR staff — along with 9 riots/melees, and 27 weapon confiscations.
 
            Chuckawalla Valley State Prison has an operational housing capacity of 3,443, but it currently houses 4,292 inmates, with 849 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 50 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 11 of them against CDCR staff — along with 5 riots/melees, and 21 weapon confiscations.
 
            Deuel Vocational Institution has an operational housing capacity of 3,115, but it currently houses 3,911 inmates, with 796 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 114 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 54 of them against CDCR staff — along with 7 riots/melees, and 37 weapon confiscations.
 
            High Desert State Prison has an operational housing capacity of 4,346, but it currently houses 4,706 inmates, with 360 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 351 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 44 of them against CDCR staff — along with 6 riots/melees, and 289 weapon confiscations.
 
            Ironwood State Prison has an operational housing capacity of 4,185, but it currently houses 4,665 inmates, with 480 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 96 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 19 of them against CDCR staff — along with 14 riots/melees, and 52 weapon confiscations.
           
            Kern Valley State Prison has an operational housing capacity of 4,566, but it currently houses 4,686 inmates, with 120 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 146 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 60 of them against CDCR staff — along with 10 riots/melees, and 46 weapon confiscations.
 
            TheCalifornia State Prison at Los Angeles has an operational housing capacity of 4,230, but it currently houses 4,698 inmates, with 468 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 211 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 123 of them against CDCR staff — along with 4 riots/melees, and 101 weapon confiscations.
 
            Mule Creek State Prison has an operational housing capacity of 3,197, but it currently houses 3,929 inmates, with 732 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 65 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 35 of them against CDCR staff — along with 1 riot/melee, and 28 weapon confiscations.
 
            North Kern State Prison has an operational housing capacity of 5,189, but it currently houses 5,365 inmates, with 176 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 135 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 43 of them against CDCR staff — along with 16 riots/melees, and 70 weapon confiscations.
 
            Pelican Bay State Prison has an operational housing capacity of 3,444, but it currently houses 3,604 inmates, with 160 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 256 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 88 of them against CDCR staff — along with 9 riots/melees, and 106 weapon confiscations.
 
            Pleasant Valley State Prison has an operational housing capacity of 4,368, but it currently houses 5,112 inmates, with 744 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 205 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 59 of them against CDCR staff — along with 12 riots/melees, and 26 weapon confiscations.
 
            The Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility has an operational housing capacity of 4,120, but it currently houses 4,720 inmates, with 600 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 244 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 118 of them against CDCR staff — along with 11 riots/melees, and 96 weapon confiscations.
 
            The California State Prison at Sacramento has an operational housing capacity of 2,973, but it currently houses 3,213 inmates, with 240 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 264 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 159 of them against CDCR staff — along with 5 riots/melees, and 118 weapon confiscations.
 
            The California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison at Corcoran has an operational housing capacity of 6,360, but it currently houses 7,593 inmates, with 1,233 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 120 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 53 of them against CDCR staff — along with 20 riots/melees, and 124 weapon confiscations.
 
            The Sierra Conservation Center has an operational housing capacity of 5,657, but it currently houses 6,107 inmates, with 450 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 61 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 18 of them against CDCR staff — along with 19 riots/melees, and 50 weapon confiscations.
 
            The California State Prison at Solano has an operational housing capacity of 5,070, but it currently houses 5,858 inmates, with 788 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 60 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 26 of them against CDCR staff — along with 4 riots/melees, and 114 weapon confiscations.
 
            San Quentin State Prison has an operational housing capacity of 4,933, but it currently houses 5,183 inmates, with 287 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 262 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 123 of them against CDCR staff — along with 15 riots/melees, and 118 weapon confiscations.
 
            Salinas Valley State Prison has an operational housing capacity of 4,200, but it currently houses 4,680 inmates, with 480 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 181 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 82 of them against CDCR staff — along with 7 riots/melees, and 91 weapon confiscations.
 
            Valley State Prison for Women has an operational housing capacity of 3,902, but it currently houses 3,958 inmates, with 56 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 125 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 75 of them against CDCR staff — and 15 weapon confiscations.
 
            Wasco State Prison has an operational housing capacity of 5,838, but it currently houses 6,098 inmates, with 260 inmates housed in areas designed for other purposes. At the same time, in the last year, there were 226 incidents of assault/battery by inmates — 97 of them against CDCR staff — along with 32 riots/melees, and 82 weapon confiscations.
 
            WHEREAS, some of these 29 severely overcrowded prisons may even be housing more inmates, because the inmate population continually fluctuates among the CDCR prisons; and
 
            WHEREAS, in addition to the 1,671 incidents of violence perpetrated in these 29 severely overcrowded prisons by inmates against CDCR staff last year, and the 2,642 incidents of violence perpetrated in these prisons on inmates by other inmates in the last year, the suicide rate in these 29 prisons is approaching an average of one per week; and
           
            WHEREAS, the federal court in the Coleman case found mental-health care in CDCR prisons to be below federal constitutional standards due in part to the lack of appropriate beds and space; and 
 
            WHEREAS, the use of common areas for inmate housing has severely modified or eliminated certain inmate programs in the 29 prisons with severe overcrowding; and
 
            WHEREAS, the severe overcrowding has also substantially limited or restricted inmate movement, causing significantly reduced inmate attendance in academic, vocational, and rehabilitation programs; and
 
            WHEREAS, overcrowded prisons in other states have experienced some of the deadliest prison riots in American history, including: 
 
            In 1971, the nation’s deadliest prison riot occurred in Attica, New York, resulting in the death of 43 people.  On the day of this riot, the prison — which was built for 1600 — housed approximately 2,300 inmates.  
 
            In 1981, a riot occurred in the New Mexico State Penitentiary. More than 30 inmates were killed, more than 100 people were injured, and 12 officers were taken hostage, some of whom were beaten, sexually assaulted, and/or raped. On the day of this riot, the prison — which was built for 900 — housed approximately 1,136 inmates.
 
            In 1993, a riot occurred in Lucasville, Ohio. One officer was murdered, four officers were seriously injured, and nine inmates were killed. On the day of this riot, the prison — which was built for 1600 — housed approximately 2,300 inmates.
 
            WHEREAS, I believe immediate action is necessary to prevent death and harm caused by California’s severe prison overcrowding; and
 
            WHEREAS, because of the housing shortage in CDCR prisons, the CDCR has current contracts with four California counties to house 2,352 additional state inmates in local adult jails, but this creates the following overcrowding problem in the county jails:
 
            According to a report by the California State Sheriffs’ Association in June 2006, adult jails recently averaged a daily population of approximately 80,000 inmates. On a typical day, the county jails lacked space for more than 4,900 inmates across the state.
 
            Based on the same report, 20 of California’s 58 counties have court-imposed population caps resulting from litigation brought by or on behalf of inmates in crowded jails and another 12 counties have self-imposed caps.
 
            Most of California’s jail population consists of felony inmates, but when county jails are full, someone in custody must be released before a new inmate can be admitted.
 
            The 2006 Sheriffs’ Association report states that last year, 233,388 individuals statewide avoided incarceration or were released early into local communities because of the lack of jail space.
 
            WHEREAS, overcrowding conditions are projected to get even worse in the coming year, to the point that the CDCR expects to run out of all common area space to house prisoners in mid-2007, and will be unable to receive any new inmates; and
 
            WHEREAS, in January 2006, I proposed $6 billion in the Strategic Growth Plan to help manage inmate population at all levels of government by increasing the number of available local jail beds and providing for two new prisons and space for 83,000 prisoners to address California’s current and future incarceration needs; and
 
            WHEREAS, the California Legislature failed to act upon this proposal; and
 
            WHEREAS, in March 2006, a proposal was submitted as part of my 2006-07 budget to enable the CDCR to contract for a total of 8,500 beds in community correctional facilities within the state; and
 
            WHEREAS, the California Legislature denied this proposal; and
 
            WHEREAS, on June 26, 2006, I issued a proclamation calling the Legislature into special session because I believed urgent action was needed to address this severe problem in California’s prisons, and I wanted to give the Legislature a further opportunity to address this crisis; and
 
            WHEREAS, the CDCR submitted detailed proposals to the Legislature to address the immediate and longer-term needs of the prison system in an effort resolve the overcrowding crisis; and
 
            WHEREAS, the California Legislature failed to adopt the proposals submitted by the CDCR, and also failed to adopt any proposals of its own; and
                                                                       
            WHEREAS, in response, my office directed the CDCR to conduct a survey of certain inmates in California’s general population to determine how many might voluntarily transfer to out-of-state correctional facilities; and  
 
            WHEREAS, the CDCR reports that more than 19,000 inmates expressed interest in voluntarily transferring to a correctional facility outside of California; and
 
            WHEREAS, the overcrowding crisis gets worse with each passing day, creating an emergency in the California prison system.  
NOW, THEREFORE, I, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, Governor of the State of California, in light of the aforementioned, find that conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property exist in the 29 CDCR prisons identified above, due to severe overcrowding, and that the magnitude of the circumstances exceeds the capabilities of the services, personnel, equipment, and facilities of any geographical area in this state. Additionally, the counties within the state are harmed by this situation, as the inability to appropriately house inmates directly impacts local jail capacity and the early release of felons. This crisis spans the eastern, western, northern, and southern parts of the state and compromises the public’s safety, and I find that local authority is inadequate to cope with the emergency. Accordingly, under the authority of the California Emergency Services Act, set forth at Title 2, Division 1, Chapter 7 of the California Government Code, commencing with section 8550, I hereby proclaim that a State of Emergency exists within the State of California’s prison system.
 
Pursuant to this proclamation: 
 
                     I.   The CDCR shall, consistent with state law and as deemed appropriate by the CDCR Secretary for the sole purpose of immediately mitigating the severe overcrowding in these 29 prisons and the resulting impacts within California, immediately contract for out-of-state correctional facilities to effectuate voluntary transfers of California prison inmates to facilities outside of this state for incarceration consisting of constitutionally adequate housing, care, and programming.
 
                   II.   The CDCR Secretary shall, after exhausting all possibilities for voluntary transfers of inmates, and in compliance with the Interstate Corrections Compact and the Western Interstate Corrections Compact, and as he deems necessary and appropriate to mitigate this emergency, effectuate involuntary transfers of California prison inmates, based on criteria set forth below, to institutions in other states and those of the federal government for incarceration consisting of constitutionally adequate housing, care, and programming. In such instance, because strict compliance with California Penal Code sections 11191 and 2911 would prevent, hinder, or delay the mitigation of the severe overcrowding in these prisons, applicable provisions of these statutes are suspended to the extent necessary to enable the CDCR to transfer adult inmates, sentenced under California law, to institutions in other states and those of the federal government without consent. This suspension is limited to the scope and duration of this emergency. 
 
A.      The CDCR Secretary shall prioritize for involuntary transfer the inmates who meet the following criteria:
 
1.   Inmates who: (a) have been previously deported by the federal government and are criminal aliens subject to immediate deportation; or (b) have committed an aggravated felony as defined by federal statute and are subject to deportation.
2.   Inmates who are paroling outside of California.
3.   Inmates who have limited or no family or supportive ties in California based on visitation records and/or other information deemed relevant and appropriate by the CDCR Secretary.
4.   Inmates who have family or supportive ties in a transfer state.
5.  Other inmates as deemed appropriate by the CDCR Secretary.
 
B.     No person under commitment to the Division of Juvenile Justice may be considered for such transfer.
 
            III.   The CDCR Secretary shall, before selecting any inmate for transfer who has individual medical and/or mental-health needs, consult with the court-appointed Receiver of the CDCR medical system and/or the court-assigned Special Master in the Coleman mental-health case, depending on the healthcare needs of the inmate, to determine whether a transfer would be appropriate. 
 
          IV.   The CDCR Secretary shall, before effectuating any inmate transfer, carefully and thoroughly evaluate all appropriate factors, including, but not limited to, the cost-effectiveness of any such transfer and whether an inmate selected for transfer has any pending appeals or hearings that may be impacted by such transfer. 
 
            V.   The CDCR shall, as deemed appropriate by the CDCR Secretary, contract for facility space, inmate transportation, inmate screening, the services of qualified personnel, and/or for the supplies, materials, equipment, and other services needed to immediately mitigate the severe overcrowding and the resulting impacts within California. Because strict compliance with the provisions of the Government Code and the Public Contract Code applicable to state contracts would prevent, hinder, or delay the mitigation of the severe overcrowding in these prisons, applicable provisions of these statutes, including, but not limited to, advertising and competitive bidding requirements, are suspended to the extent necessary to enable the CDCR to enter into such contracts as expeditiously as possible. This suspension is limited to the scope and duration of this emergency.  
 
            I FURTHER DIRECT that as soon as hereafter possible, this proclamation be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given of this proclamation.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 4th day of October 2006.
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER
Governor of California
 
ATTEST:
 
BRUCE McPHERSON
Secretary of State