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Transporting inmates outside of CDCR correctional facilities is one of the most high-risk assignments for correctional peace officers.

Any time you take an offender outside the secured perimeter of a prison there is an inherent risk to public safety.

CDCR has developed sound policies and procedures that reduce the risk to public safety.CDCR and the Transportation Unit has an excellent track record of accomplishing this task with very few incidents. This can be attributed to their level of training and experience.

From 2006 through 2010, the Transportation Unit transported approximately 200,000 inmates and extradited approximately 2,500 inmates annually.

On any given day there are as many as 600 inmates being transported on as many as 20 buses and 40 vans.

The Transportation Unit logged more than 1.3 million miles on buses and more than 1.8 million miles in all other vehicles in 2011/2012. The unit also traveled a significant distance by air.

The unit accomplished all this with a total staff of about 200 personnel.

The Transportation Unit has historically had two primary functions: the extradition of parolees and escapees back to California and the transportation of inmates statewide.

The Transportation Unit operates from three hubs: Northern Transportation Hub at Deuel Vocational Institution, Central Transportation Hub at North Kern State Prison and Southern Transportation Hub at California Institution for Men.

Statewide Scheduling and Extraditions operations are based at CDCR headquarters.
The Transportation Unit has been responsible for transporting inmates from institution to institution, to-and-from community correctional facilities and to contracted facilities in Arizona.

The Transportation Unit also takes parole violators from county jails to reception centers, from institutions to parole revocation hearings, drug treatment furlough facilities and jail based and community based in-custody drug treatment programs.

Each week the Transportation Unit scheduling staff prepares a statewide inmate transportation schedule for the following week, based on requests from each institution.

These requests are specific to inmates’ classification, custody, mental health, medical and other case factors.

To address the many complexities of the inmate population, the Transportation Unit scheduling staff works closely with the Population Management Unit and the Health Care Services Division when preparing the weekly statewide bus schedule.

The scheduling of inmates has become more complex due to increases in the number of population subsets within each level.

These subsets include Sensitive Needs Yard inmates, inmates requiring Correctional Clinical Case Management System level of care or higher, inmates with developmental and physical disabilities, and inmates with medical conditions limiting placement options.

These subsets often limit the number and type of inmate who can be transported on an individual bus.

The Transportation Unit has responded to major incidents such as the riot at the California Institution for Men (CIM) and the floods at Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI).

During the CIM riot, more than 400 inmates were transported to various institutions over a three-day period. During the DVI floods, more than 1,500 inmates were transported over four days. This volume of inmate movement requires coordination and support and could not occur without the efforts of each institution on a daily basis.

As a result of Public Safety Realignment much of the traditional workload has been eliminated. Parolees no longer return to state prison and contract beds associated with Community Correctional Facilities have been discontinued due to population reductions.

The Transportation Unit has been used to offset overtime cost by absorbing other departmental workload that is typically conducted by institution staff. The Transportation Unit conducts all Department of Mental Health and most Mental Health Crisis Bed transports.

In addition, Transportation Unit staff have assisted with medical transports of inmates at various institutions to local medical treatment facilities.

By CDCR Staff