State: Bakersfield, McFarland prisons not needed

State: Bakersfield, McFarland prisons not needed »Play Video
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California officials say a drop in the number of minimum-security inmates is allowing them to end contracts with the companies that operate three private prisons.

The move will save the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation about $15 million a year. The private prisons in Baker, Bakersfield and McFarland once housed a total of 822 inmates.

Department officials said Monday they may seek new proposals to use the prisons for female inmates.

About 2,500 fewer minimum-security inmates are in prison than a year ago. The department credits a new policy that diverts many parole violators who commit relatively minor offenses to community programs instead of sending them back to prison.