Judges Order Massive Calif. Inmate Release

SAN FRANCISCO — California must release tens of thousands of inmates to relieve dangerous overcrowding in state prisons and improve substandard healthcare and conditions, according to a special three-judge federal panel.

The order would cap the state prison population at 120 percent to 145 percent of design capacity, which would require 37,000 to 58,000 inmates to be released.

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Recovery Act Provides $2 Billion for Justice Dept.

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice will administer $2 billion allocated to state and local law enforcement and criminal justice assistance under the federal stimulus package.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed the Office of Justice Programs will make $2 billion available to state and local agencies through the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program.

The funding allocation is part a broader criminal justice assistance package contained in the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed by President Barack Obama in February.

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New Mexico Nixes Death Penalty Amid Uptick in U.S. Executions

SANTA FE, N.M. — Gov. Bill Richardson repealed the death penalty in New Mexico as he signed legislation to replace capital punishment with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment without parole.

New Mexico is only the second state in more than 40 years to abolish the death penalty, joining 13 other states and the District of Columbia in abandoning capital punishment.

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Omnibus Earmark Sparks San Diego Project

SAN DIEGO — The new U.S. courthouse proposed for downtown San Diego moved a step closer to reality as President Barack Obama signed a $410 billion omnibus-spending bill.

The federal appropriations package included a $110 million earmark for the San Diego courthouse, bringing total federal funding for the project to almost $370 million.
The funding will allow officials to move the project bidding process forward, sign construction contracts and reignite the long-stalled courthouse expansion.

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GSA Design Awards: Oregon Courthouse Scores Multiple Honors

WASHINGTON — Oregon’s Wayne Lyman Morse U.S. Courthouse and the San Francisco federal building scooped the top architecture honors in the 2008 General Services Administration’s Design Excellence Program.

The GSA’s 2008 biennial design awards, released in March, recognize 18 federal projects with awards and citations for design, art and construction excellence. The Morse courthouse in Eugene, Ore., and San Francisco’s federal building, both designed by Morphosis Architecture, received the architectural honor awards.

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GEO Consolidates Healthcare Operations, Opens New Facility

ARCADIA, Fla. — The GEO Group opened a new $62 million secure treatment facility as the private prison operator announced the consolidation of correctional healthcare functions under the company’s GEO Care division.

The new 720-bed Florida Civil Commitment Center replaces the existing 660-bed facility in Arcadia, and is designed to provide comprehensive treatment programming for offenders detained or committed under Florida’s Sexually Violent Predator Act.

FCCC is Florida’s only civil commitment program for sexual offenders in the state.

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Hininger Promoted to CEO of Corrections Corp.

Corrections Corporation of America president and chief operating officer Damon Hininger, the Background Check subject in the July/August issue, will succeed chairman John Ferguson as chief executive officer in October.

Hininger will also join the company’s board of directors, where Ferguson will continue to serve as chairman following his retirement as CEO.

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CCA Opens 2,232-bed Facility for Illegal-Immigrant Offenders

NATCHEZ, Miss. — Corrections Corporation of America will bring the recently completed Adams County Correctional Facility on line this year to house illegal-immigrant offenders for the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

CCA announced the opening of the 2,232-bed Adams County Correctional Facility after winning an FBOP contract to house up to 2,567 federal inmates.

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