The Riverside County Prison In California Will Be Closed, And Other Facilities Will Be Deactivated

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is pushing through with a plan to shut down a jail in Riverside County, inactivate a number of other places, and stop using one more piece of property that is now being utilized as a prison.

One of the two prisons in Blythe, Chuckawalla Valley State Prison, will close, with a scheduled closing date of March 2025.

As the CDCR focuses on “fiscal prudence” with its usage of state prisons, the decision to close Chuckawalla was taken at Gov. Gavin Newsom’s instruction, along with dropping inmate numbers and financial considerations.

Chuckawalla was established in 1987 and is situated on 125 acres of land. There are now 2,050 prisoners there.

A $32 million lease for the California City Correctional Facility in Kern County will also not be renewed by CDCR. The facility is leased by the state, which staffs it with CDCR workers. With the announcement of the lease expiration, the jail will be effectively shut down by March 2024.

The sole piece of real estate that CDCR rents out for use as a jail is the California City Correctional Facility. Newsom has often promised to end the use of private prisons in California.

Since 2013, when the state was grappling with overpopulation at its state-owned jail facilities, the state has leased the facility. There are now 1,925 prisoners housed there.

Following an analysis of the costs associated with maintaining them operational, CDCR decided to close the prisons at Chuckawalla and California City. The likelihood of overpopulation at other facilities was considered, along with the cost of operation, housing requirements for the entire population, and long-term investments.

The number of prisoners in California has decreased as a result of new regulations that have been passed and the growth of COVID-19.

In the near future, six prisons throughout the state will also experience changes as a result of CDCR’s intentions to deactivate some of the facilities there.

The facilities in question are:

  • Women’s Facility in Folsom
  • A colony for Men in California (West)
  • Center for California Rehabilitation (A yard)
  • California Men’s Institution (D yard)
  • The prison at Pelican Bay State (C yard)
  • Correctional Facility of California (D yard)

With the caveat that they might be reopened if necessary in the future, those facilities are anticipated to be totally deactivated by the end of 2023 or earlier.

Two further state prisons have already been shuttered in California; the Lassen County Prison will close in June 2019 and the Deuel Vocational Institution in San Joaquin County will close in September 2021.

The state of California, according to Gov. Newsom, has plans to assist employees and community people harmed by the closures of Lassen County and Chuckawalla. As a result of the Riverside County prison’s closure, his administration said it intends to work closely with “stakeholders in Riverside County to help support workers and build a bottom-up economic resiliency strategy for the community impacted.”

The nonprofit Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), which focuses on prison reform, is in favor of closing the jails and terminating the lease in California City, according to Amber-Rose Howard, executive director of CURB.

Our community supports this step in the direction of ending California’s horrendous history of jail growth, Howard added. “We hope that yard deactivations are carried out securely and that they are a sign of the potential prison closures in the future that we all know could occur over the next few years.”

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