“We understand the administration will negotiate with local officials on whether or not communities would be willing to accept a re-entry facility,” Rushing said. “If Nelles is in the discussion, it would no doubt be as one of the re-entry facilities,” he said. But Calderon doesn’t support the reopening of Nelles, Rushing said. “Nelles has done its time as a site for a correctional facility,” he said. “We hope to see the property developed as business and homes – those types of uses that will stimulate the economy, provide new jobs and a new tax base for the city.” The state closed Nelles, a 73-acre facility, in 2004 after operating it as a prison for 113 years. It was scheduled to be sold in July 2006. The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation stopped the sale, saying the state might need the property. SACRAMENTO – The reopening of the now-closed Fred C. Nelles Youth Correctional Facility is not included in a wide-ranging, proposed $6.1 billion prison deal reached by the legislature’s top leaders, officials said Wednesday. The agreement adds 53,000 beds, requires improvements to rehabilitation programs and allows Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to continue his strategy of transferring thousands of inmates out of state. “From our understanding of this legislation, there is no specified facility identified for Whittier at this time,” said Rocky Rushing, chief of staff for state Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello. However, the agreement calls for 16,000 beds at new, smaller prisons \ to be built throughout the state to house parole violators and inmates nearing their release dates. Assembly Speaker Fabian Nu ez and Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata struck the deal on prisons Wednesday with their Republican counterparts, Assembly Minority Leader Mike Villines of Clovis and Senate Minority Leader Dick Ackerman of Tustin. The governor and Legislature are under pressure to solve overcrowding in California’s prisons, with federal judges threatening early release of inmates if they do not. The Assembly and Senate were scheduled to vote on the deal Thursday and send it to Schwarzenegger if it passed, as expected. “There’s a balance here between beds and rehab, and the kind of things we believe will ultimately reduce the population, the inmate population and cut our recidivism rate,” said Perata, D-Oakland. “The Legislature does not want a court takeover of the system … but we will not blindly give a blank check and throw good money after bad,” Nu ez and Perata said in letter to the governor outlining the bipartisan deal. “A quick fix without fundamental changes and effective reform is simply `running in place.”‘ According to an outline of the deal, the building program and other reforms would be in two phases, with $3.6 billion in the first allocation and $2.5 billion in the second. The money would add 16,000 beds at cell blocks to be built at existing prisons; another 16,000 beds at new, smaller prisons to be built throughout the state to house parole violators and inmates nearing their release dates; and 8,000 medical beds for the prison health care system. Another 13,000 beds would be added to county jails, while $50 million would be added to the prison budget for rehabilitation, drug treatment and vocational education programs. The deal also would create a California Rehabilitation Oversight Board to ensure inmates get the help they need to transition back to society. The deal would accommodate a state inmate population that is expected to swell to 190,000 by 2012, the legislative leaders said. A Schwarzenegger spokesman said the administration would not comment on the specific deal reached Wednesday but said the agreement was encouraging. “Governor Schwarzenegger has been committed to solving this prison crisis since coming into office, and he is optimistic that real progress is about to be made,” communications director Adam Mendelsohn said. All but $350 million would be paid through the use of lease-revenue bonds, which do not require voter approval and typically sell at higher interest rates than general obligation bonds. If the second phase of the prison plan isn’t under way by 2014, authorization for the money would end. California’s 33 state prisons have more than 172,000 inmates in space designed for about 100,000. Many inmates bunk in makeshift dormitories in gyms and hallways. Legislative leaders said they wanted to present a prison- reform plan to U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson of San Francisco by mid-May. Henderson is one of three federal judges forcing prison reform in California, and each has scheduled June hearings to decide whether overcrowding is violating inmates’ constitutional rights. The judges could stop convicts from being sent to state prisons or order the early release of inmates if they are not satisfied that the state is taking adequate steps to ease the overcrowding. A variety of lawsuits has placed many aspects of California’s prison operations under federal oversight, including employee discipline, parole and the treatment of sick and mentally ill inmates. Federal judges have said the persistent overcrowding is at the core of many of the system’s problems, especially its poor health care and a high rate of inmate suicides. In October, Schwarzenegger took a step to help solve the overcrowding when he ordered inmates shipped to private prisons in other states. A Sacramento County judge subsequently ruled that the transfers overstepped the governor’s emergency powers and violated a provision in the state Constitution that prohibits using private companies for jobs usually performed by state workers. The administration has said the transfers are key to complying with the court mandates and is appealing the ruling. The plan reached Wednesday between the Democratic and Republican legislative leaders gives the governor permission to transfer up to 8,000 inmates out of state for up to three years. Schwarzenegger called a special legislative session last summer to deal with prison overcrowding and proposed $6 billion to build new prisons, but lawmakers adjourned without acting on the plan. This year, the governor proposed an $11 billion building plan to add 78,000 prison and county jail beds. Earlier this week, however, he said he would be open to adding fewer beds as part of a larger plan to ease crowding. “If we don’t have a prison- reform plan by next month, the federal courts will take over, put a cap on our prison population and order the early release of inmates – the early release of criminals – and those criminals will be roaming around on your streets and in your neighborhoods, and your neighborhoods and streets will not be safe,” the governor said during a ceremony memorializing crime victims. Capping the prison population or ordering the early release of inmates would require a decision by a special three-judge panel after several months of hearings. Staff writer Mike Sprague contributed to this Associated Press story.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!