Governor Changes Tactics To Avoid Freeing Inmates

By DON THOMPSONAssociated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Eight months after Gov. Jerry Brown tried to end California's reliance on private prisons to handle an overflow of inmates, his administration has changed tactics. It now is seeking to expand their use as a less-harmful alternative to releasing thousands of prisoners early.

The administration plans to soon ask federal judges to let the state move at least 4,000 inmates to private cells in California and other states as one way of reducing crowding in the state's major prisons by nearly 10,000 inmates by year's end.

The Democratic governor also proposes to keep an additional 9,000 inmates in private prisons in other states for an extra three years.

It's a sea change from January, when he declared the state's prison crowding crisis was over and private prisons no longer needed.