It's not just Texas struggling with overcrowded prisons and jails. The New York Times reports today ("States export their inmates as prisons fill," July 31) that more prisoners than ever are being shipped out of state. Many come to Texas, like the poor fellows from Idaho whose plight has received national attention. But as Grits mentioned recently, now Texas private prisons are mostly full, so others wind up in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arizona and Kentucky. See the map above from the Times for details about who's going where.
Rotating prisoners from unit to unit can harm prisoner health and participation in rehabilitation programs, said the Times:
The frequent moves can also have a disruptive effect on prisons, whether the transfers occur within a state or not, corrections officials said. In California, a federal court official overseeing a revamping of the prison medical system reported more than 170,000 prisoner moves within the state in the first three months of this year. The moves were found to be inhibiting the ability of inmates to receive health care and draining resources.Perhaps most ominously in the big picture, California may soon begin dumping untold thousands more inmates into this burgeoning national flesh market, but from what I've seen I doubt there's sufficient capacity anywhere to handle their overflow. Then what? How long will states continue to pursue the same failed strategies expecting to produce different results?
BLOGVERSATION: Tom Kirkendall at Houston's Clear Thinkers has more.