Mike Cruz, Staff Writer
Created: 05/28/2011 10:14:38 PM PDT

ADELANTO – As the U.S. Supreme Court ordered California officials last week to significantly reduce prison overcrowding, a proposal to build a new 6,100-bed state prison in Adelanto sits on hold, according to city officials.

Officials from the High Desert city had been in discussions with the state for a couple years to build a new prison on a 226-acre site near Highway 395, according to City Manager Jim Hart. But those talks stalled when the state elected a new governor in November.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration has told Hart that resources are focused on the state’s budget, Hart said.

“There’s not a whole lot of activity taking place,” Hart said Thursday about the prison proposal. But the playing field changed this week when the Supreme Court ruled that a reduction of 33,000 state prisoners was needed to correct serious lapses in medical care.

“The state now has a new level of pressure on them to start looking at overcrowding,” Hart said.

Brown’s office referred a phone call about Adelanto’s prison proposal to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. But in a statement issued Monday, Brown said the court recognized that the enactment of Assembly Bill 109 is key to meeting the obligation to reduce the prison population.

“We must now secure full and constitutionally guaranteed funding to put into effect all the realignment provisions contained in A.B. 109,” Brown said. “As we work to carry out the court’s ruling, I will take all steps necessary to protect public safety.”

CDCR had no comment about the Adelanto proposal, but it pointed to a county- and state-funded project to build a $120-million jail with 1,368 beds in Adelanto, near the current county jail, as well as Apple Valley’s option agreement with the state to build a facility in that town for parolees returning to society.

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