California prisoners likely to stay put

I posted  this over at the Midwest Pages to Prisoners blog after seeing it on Corinna’s. This story, about a proposed plan by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels to transfer inmates from California’s overcrowded prisons, to vacant spots in Indiana prisons, shows some interesting things, including the massive number of incarcerated people in total, and especially in places like California. Also, it shows the connections between prison management and private industry. Finally, I think it shows the outlandish scenarios that happen when the industry of the construction of prisons comes before assessing the role that we want incarceration to play in our society.  Noteably, that prisons need to be filled, one way or another, whether it’s creating laws that make it more likely for people to end up in prison, or actually shipping prisoners from one place to another.  It also speaks the commodification of human lives, when people can be moved around to maximize efficiency, like so many widgets.  And it’s hard really, because the reality of such decisions might stand to improve the day to day life of some CA prisoners, but, in the end, it speaks to the fundamental flaws of the system, that requires a change in attitudes and priorities instead of just a reallocation of resources.

From the Indianapolis Star:

Gov. Mitch Daniels’ plan to make money by opening Indiana prisons to inmates from packed California prisons has fallen short, with few convicts volunteering and what may be insurmountable objections and concerns from prisoner advocates and guards.

Despite the setback, Indiana Department of Correction Commissioner J. David Donahue said Saturday the state hasn’t given up on the notion of housing prisoners from other states.

He said Indiana is in preliminary talks with “another jurisdiction” that may be interested in sending its inmates to Indiana if the deal with California collapses.

Under the deal between Daniels and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, up to 1,200 California offenders would have been sent to the New Castle Correctional Facility.

Schwarzenegger in October declared a state of emergency in California after his state’s prison population had swelled to nearly 173,000 inmates crammed into a system designed to hold about 100,000.

Indiana was motivated to act in part because about 60 percent of the 2,400-bed Henry County medium-security prison sits empty, Donahue said.