California could close nine prisons

February 23, 2023


A report released by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) argues the state could close up to nine of its 33 prisons, as well as eight yards within operating facilities. [Cal Matters]

In 2006, at its peak, California’s state prison inmate population totaled 165,000. Now, following a decade of sentencing reforms and pandemic-related releases, the state has a little more than 95,000 people incarcerated in its prisons. 

Shortly after taking office, in 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom said he had a goal to close just one state prison. Since then, Newsom has effectively closed two prisons, and his administration has plans to shut down at least two more.

In 2021, California closed the Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy. The California Correctional Center in Susanville is due to close in June, along with yards at six other prisons. Two more prisons, located in Blythe and California City, are scheduled to close by March 2025. 

Even following those closures, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has the space to close five more entire prisons by 2027, according to the report by the LAO. CDCR currently operates 15,000 empty beds, and the total is expected to reach 20,000 by 2027.

Caitlin O’Neil, an LAO analyst and co-author of the report, wrote the goal should be for the state to avoid spending on major capital improvement projects at a prison, then decide to shut down the facility.

“Difficult decisions have to be made, but if we don’t make those decisions, the alternative is paying hundreds of millions for prison beds we don’t need to be paying for,” O’Neil said.

In San Luis Obispo County, most of the West Facility at the California Men’s Colony is scheduled to close by Dec. 2023. It is unclear when exactly the state will begin transferring inmates and closing housing units. The CDCR plans to lay off more than 300 workers as it closes portions of the Men’s Colony West Facility.

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Well, since California doesn’t actually put people in prison anymore, I suppose this won’t even be noticed…

Is there any chance that vagrancy be outlawed and provide housing at these nine institutions under some sort of housing contract?

Since the topic is Prisons…. American taxpayers pay $18,000,000 annually to house one single inmate at Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. There are currently 34 inmates there. No matter how you add that up, THAT’S ALOT of wasted taxpayer money. The prisoners should be transported to Federal Supermax ADX Florence. There is NO CHANCE they would escape from that place.

That’s juuuust a bit exaggerated. Guantanamo is an operating Naval and Marine facility. The prison is simply an accessory to the operation. Whatever the cost of running the port, simply includes the cost of prisoner housing. Also, most of the prisoners have retained civilian lawyers, who, by their very nature, heavily add onto their cost of service. Actual estimate, is closer to $2.7 million, according to Pulitzer.

These are not drug dealers, car thieves, or wanna-be street gang thugs. These men were responsible for war crimes and mass murder. Many of their victims were your fellow Americans.

That’s enough for me, to keep them locked up forever, plus two more days.

Has crime really dropped this much that we should close these prisons? Because when I go to town or read the papers, it sounds like all the criminals are now on the street. What happened to being held responsible for our actions? Just yesterday my 3 year old daughter saw a man peeing on the sidewalk on Niblick Rd by Walmart. Thanks California voters. Put ‘em back in jail.

I myself am retired CDCR, and the first thing that catches my eye about this closure list is that it doesn’t include the State’s two oldest (and by far most costly to operate): San Quentin and Folsom. They did close Duel, which was an older prison. But it seems to me that the priority for closure wasn’t necessarily those prisons on valuable ground that require extensive maintenance, but rather they’re closing prisons in areas where the surrounding voting populous is mostly conservative. I guess no local Senate or Assembly members wanted to answer for the loss of jobs. But San Quentin certainly should have been at the top of the list, being by-far the most expensive prison to maintain per inmate and sitting atop of some REALLY valuable real estate that could have easily been re-purposed.

Closing prisons because crime is going down is backward and wishful thinking. Prosecutors are not enforcing the LAW. Crime is rampant in the metro areas, shoplifters, open hard drug use and trafficking, assault crimes, car jackings, burglary, sex crimes, etc. are out of control. Sentences, bail releases are way to lenient and almost non-existent. Criminals must face consequences!!! Enforcing the law and locking them up will fill prisons quickly.

CDCR and the Govenor are not reducing overcrowding by closing prisons , they are eliminating jobs and tax payers . The new laws limiting who goes to prison not reducing overcrowding either …just reducing jobs and number of tax payers ….The prisons that will remain open have been at triple capacity for last 20 to 40 years easily , buildings designed for 90 inmates still have 230 to 270 inmates in those buildings , which puts staff and inmates at risk . 230 to 270 inmates with 3 officers in the building . CDCR did require medical staff to become trained the same as C.O.s , which in turn left some medical staff without jobs . Some could not pass background checks and others physically could not become C.O.s …CDCR has become so desperate for C.O.s that 90 pound women are employed as Correctional Officers that only carry a stick and pepper spray .. Criminals by now have full knowledge that long stays in a California prison probably about the same odds as winning the lottery . Duell at Tracy was a very old juvenile prison converted to adult prison , the cells were designed for a juvenile sized person , but prior to Duells closure housed 2 adult sized inmates . There was sections of Duell at Tracy that were newer buildings …The prisons being closed in Susanville , Blythe and California City are modern era built prisons , Newsom already closed most of the fire camp prisons . IMO most employees of CDCR facing layoffs or transfers will just sell their homes and leave the state with a foul taste in their mouths