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California Prison Overhaul Would Save $1.5 Billion A Year

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Inmates at Chino State Prison walk past their bunk beds in a gymnasium that was modified to house prisoners on December 10, 2010 in Chino, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Inmates at Chino State Prison walk past their bunk beds in a gymnasium that was modified to house prisoners on December 10, 2010 in Chino, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California prison officials want to halt a $4 billion prison-construction program and bring back all inmates held out of state as part of a wide-ranging department restructuring.

A corrections department master plan released Monday outlines the department’s recommendations for ending years of federal court oversight, overcrowding, poor inmate medical and mental health treatment and soaring budgets.

The plan was to be discussed later Monday at a Capitol news conference. It is intended to map the future of the nation’s largest state prison system as it is being transformed by ongoing state budget deficits and federal court orders.

The plan also calls for closing a medium security prison in Riverside County. If all changes are implemented, the department projects its budget will be reduced by $1.5 billion annually.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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