Ariz. prison capacity: shortfall or surplus?

PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona has either a shortfall of approximately 4,000 prison beds or a surplus of about 1,000 beds, with the difference based on whether more than 5,100 temporary beds are counted as part of the overall picture.

A legislative staff analysis of a Department of Corrections capacity report says the state prison system has an inmate population approaching 41,000 but a total of permanent beds approaching only 37,000.

The temporary beds provide space for the rest of the inmates. Those beds are placed in spaces such as tents and day rooms.

The Corrections Department say use of temporary beds can result in overcrowding, strain prison systems and impact state and inmate safety.

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