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California Prison Population Drops Slightly

Katie Orr, Capital Public Radio

Pelican Bay State Prison

Katie Orr, Capital Public Radio

The number of inmates housed in California’s 35 state prisons has ticked down slightly compared to last year. There are currently about 116,000 inmates in prison, down from nearly 119,000 last year.

California has been under a federal court order to reduce its prison population. Jeffrey Callison is with the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He says diverting some people from prisons to county jails, and other changes in state law have helped reduce the population.

"Because of a result of those actions we are now below 140 percent of design capacity," he says. "And that is quite close to what the federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have said the state’s prison population should be at."

Callison says CDCR also contracts for space outside of state prisons. More than 4,000 inmates were moved to other California facilities this year, bringing the total to just over 6,000.

Nearly 9,000 are in out-of-state facilities, which is about the same number as last year.