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Stockton Medical Facility Won't Put Dent In Prison Population

STOCKTON (CBS13) — A new prison medical facility for nearly 2,000 inmates in Stockton won't make a dent in reducing the prison population.

After a federal judge ordered Gov. Jerry Brown to release more than 9,000 prisoners for failing to provide inmates with adequate health care in the state's overcrowded lockups, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation unveiled the new 1.4-million-square-foot facility.

"We believe that this facility does more than even what the courts require," said spokesman Bill Sessa. "The whole point of reducing the overcrowding in prison is to reduce the constitutional level of care for medicinal and mental health. We think this medical facility is way over the top of that."

The health-care facility will house and treat up to 1,700 inmates by providing much-needed medical, mental and dental care.

But some aren't happy about it.

A small group rallied outside Tuesday's ribbon-cutting ceremony to show support for the federal judge's order to release prisoners, and to protest the project's $900 million price tag.

"We know that money could be better spent in our communities, and there are much more effective alternatives than building more prisons," said protester Emily Harris.

The facility will employ about 2,500 people and is expected to bring in much-needed tax revenue to the county.

"We think it will pump at least $1 billion a year into the local economy," Sessa said.

The first batch of inmates is expected to arrive at the facility next month, with full capacity expected by the end of the year.

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