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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California's prison secretary on Friday said the state will force the transfer up to 5,000 inmates to other states, an indication that an order signed last fall by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has fallen short of expectations.
The involuntary transfers will start in 60 to 90 days. Corrections Secretary James Tilton said the action is needed to relieve overcrowding that threatens the safety of guards and inmates in the nation's largest state prison system.
Private prisons in Mississippi, Arizona and Oklahoma are likely to receive the transferred inmates, Tilton said.
Lawsuits have left federal courts in charge of various aspects of California's prisons, with overcrowding the root of many of the system's problems.
In December, a federal judge warned that he would start releasing inmates early or prohibit convicts from being sent to state prisons from county jails unless the state acts immediately to solve the overcrowding.