California inmates

The first 10 of 17 California prison inmates transferred from the La Palma Correctional Center in Eloy to the Pinal County jail in Florence are, top from left: Alfred Contreras, Cefas Manjarrez, Charly Jaime, Daniel Hoggs and George Solorzano; bottom from left: Herbery Ticas, Jesus Castro, Jose Barraza, Margarito Perez and Raymond Rudolph. La Palma, which opened in 2008, was designed specifically to house inmates from California.

FLORENCE — The Pinal County jail received a new batch of higher-security inmates as the state of California phases out of housing prisoners in Arizona.

On Monday, 10 California state prisoners were transferred to the Pinal County Adult Detention Center from La Palma Correctional Center in Eloy. On Tuesday seven more were booked.

The prisoners booked Monday include Alfred Contreras, Cefas Manjarrez, Charly Jaime, Daniel Hoggs, George Solorzano, Herbery Ticas, Jesus Castro, Jose Barraza, Margarito Perez and Raymond Rudolph. Those transferred Tuesday were Bryan Alvarado, Contrell Walker, Martin Granados, Jesus Palacios, Yussef Tafich, Israel Perales and Ryan Lopez.

“The California inmates being housed in Pinal County jail are awaiting adjudication for in-prison offenses committed while serving their time in La Palma Correctional Center,” said Vicky Waters, press secretary for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. “The current custody levels of the inmates range from medium to maximum security. These inmates were housed in the La Palma Correctional Center, as California has contracted with out-of-state facilities to ease overcrowding. We anticipate vacating La Palma by the end of the fiscal year.”

In May 2018, California Corrections indicated it might bring its inmates home to California from the CoreCivic La Palma Correctional Center in Eloy.

That return of prisoners to California did not happen until now.

When California’s prisons became too overpopulated in the mid-2000s, it started sending inmates out to multiple states. Waters said it has always been the state’s goal to phase out its remaining prison contracts in Arizona and Mississippi.

The La Palma facility in Eloy opened in 2008 and was designed specifically to hold California inmates. The facility had nearly 3,000 inmates living there as of 2017.

Pinal County Supervisor Steve Miller, R-Casa Grande, said he was aware that California prisoners were coming to the Pinal County jail. He said the matter had been discussed briefly inside a closed-door executive session.

He said California will pay a daily rate per prisoner but that the rate varies depending on the prisoner.