The construction projects would be the first to draw money from a nearly $8 billion bond measure approved two years ago. The money was stalled, though, until Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the state budget into law in February.
Corrections Secretary Matthew Cate said he plans to seek approval within weeks to build more cellblocks at two prisons near Delano and to convert a juvenile lockup near Paso Robles. Those moves combined would house 2,800 inmates.
The $810 million Cate will seek from legislative budget committees would pay for those three expansions, plus building a re-entry center in Stockton for 500 inmates who are nearing the end of their prison terms. It would be the first of several planned regional re-entry centers to help inmates adjust in the months before they are paroled.
(this was one of the urgent projects seeking approval and financed by bonds approved in 2007, per the L.A. Times)
(and another aspect of the whole thing: prison construction is regarded as one way to generate construction jobs. One person's problem is another's salvation).
I have no doubt that prison authorities are sincere in regarding prison expansion as a viable way to reduce overcrowding; however, I can't help but think about conversations I've had with my father, a transport planner, who often marvels at how new roads built to relieve congestion generate incentives to buy more cars, thus increasing traffic. I know the metaphor is not perfect, but it has been preying on my mind.