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Sentencing/Post Conviction

Doing Time, Across State Lines

Posted Jul 31, 2007 8:24 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Prison officials in at least eight states are easing crowded conditions by shipping prisoners to facilities in other states.

The New York Times spoke to a convicted armed robber from Hawaii who served his sentence in Minnesota, Oklahoma and Arizona. The distance has strained family relationships, says prisoner Bob Weier. The last time he saw his daughter was 11 years ago, and he never met his grandchildren. “To them, I’m just a voice who talks to them on the phone for a while,” he said.

Critics note the stress on families. They also say transfers can interfere with training and rehabilitation programs and access to health care.

States sending prisoners outside their borders include:

--Hawaii, which incarcerates about 2,000 inmates in Arizona, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Kentucky.

--Alabama, which has 1,300 prisoners in Louisiana.

--California, which plans to send at least 8,000 prisoners to other states. It currently incarcerates inmates in Arizona, Tennessee and Mississippi.

--Arizona, with more than 2,000 inmates in Oklahoma and Indiana.

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