SACRAMENTO (AP) ― California is set to send another 5,000 inmates to private prisons to reduce crowding in state-run lockups.

The nation’s largest state prison system has sent nearly 10,000 inmates to private out-of-state prisons since 2006.

Prison officials said Thursday they signed a three-year contract with GEO Group Inc. to house nearly 2,600 inmates at its prison in Baldwin, Mich., at a cost of $60 million a year.

They are negotiating with Corrections Corp. of America to house nearly 2,400 more California inmates, besides the nearly 10,000 it currently houses. The two-year contract will cost $300 million annually to house inmates in Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, Mississippi and Oklahoma.

The U.S. Supreme Court is to hear arguments this month over whether the federal courts can require California to cut its prison population further.

(© 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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