CDCR announces deactivation of California Correctional Center in Susanville

The California Correctional Center is expected to close by June 30, 2022, CDCR announced today.

“Today, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced the upcoming deactivation of California Correctional Center (CCC) in Susanville by June 30, 2022. The prison is comprised of four facilities and serves as a hub for incarcerated firefighters who are trained for placement into one of 14 Conservation (Fire) Camps in Northern California. Those fire camps will now be part of the Sierra Conservation Center in Jamestown and will continue supporting local, state, and federal agencies responding to fires, floods and other natural or manmade disasters,” read the Tuesday, April 13 announcement.

Approximately 2,064 incarcerated people are housed at CCC. There are currently 1,080 staff at the institution. The closure of CCC is estimated to achieve a full-year, annual savings of $122 million.

News broke earlier Tuesday with CCC staff receiving a letter informing them of the expected closure.

“(It) is going to be, obviously, a huge impact to the community,” County Administrative Officer Richard Egan said during the Tuesday Lassen County Board of Supervisors meeting prior to the formal announcement, but after CCC staff received notification. “We’ll be looking at those impacts over the coming weeks.”

CDCR noted it would work with staff on this transition, including possible relocation to other institutions. Additionally, incarcerated people will be transferred to other facilities based on their housing, custody and rehabilitative needs. All of their rehabilitative, educational and self-help program credits will transfer with them. There will be no expedited releases due to the closures.

“The significant decrease in the state’s incarcerated population over the past year is allowing CDCR to move forward with these prison closures in a thoughtful manner that does not impact public safety, and that focuses on the successful reentry of people into communities once they release from our custody,” said Kathleen Allison, CDCR Secretary in the statement. “While these decisions are never easy, they are opening the door for the department to increase efficiencies as California continues to focus on reentry and rehabilitation efforts.”

During the Tuesday meeting, Egan noted the county would work to discover the potential impacts in the area.

“It’s unfortunate the state, without any input from the community or county, has made that decision,” Egan said. “It’s unfortunate, an unfortunate impact, and we’ll be looking at how to address that.”

This is the second prison slated to close in the coming year, with Deuel Vocational Institution slated to be deactivated by September 30, 2021. The closure of two state prisons was included in Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2020-21 Budget, and is aligned with public safety as well as a decreased incarcerated population.

In addition to the closure of CCC, the secure Level I facilities at California Correctional Institution (CCI) in Tehachapi and Correctional Training Facility (CTF) in Soledad will close by June 30, 2022, due to population reduction.

These closures are estimated to save an additional $45 million annually.

CDCR announced in September 2020 the deactivation of Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy by the end of September 2021. The last time California closed a state prison was Northern California Women’s Facility in Stockton in 2003. In 2019, CDCR took the major step of successfully returning all people incarcerated out-of-state in private, for-profit prisons, in addition to closing the Central Valley Modified Community Correctional Facility (MCCF), a contracted in-state private, for-profit prison. In 2020, CDCR ended its final three contracts with private, for-profit prisons, including Desert View MCCF, Golden State MCCF, and the McFarland Female Community Reentry Facility. Additionally in 2020, CDCR exited two of its three publicly contracted facilities, including Delano MCCF and Shafter MCCF. The department will exit the Taft MCCF by May 31, 2021.

In October 2020, CDCR announced the closure of eight fire camps, four of which were in the Northern Region. These camps had been operating at well below capacity for some time. The depopulation allowed CAL FIRE and CDCR to effectively consolidate resources into the remaining 35 conservation camps, so that they can be more efficient and better staffed for response to wildfires, other emergencies, and engagement in conservation-related work. CDCR continues to work closely with CAL FIRE to maintain adequate fire response and community involvement.

CCC was originally built in 1963 and encompasses the Level I and Level II facilities, which are a dormitory design. In 1983, the Minimum Support Facility was constructed, and in 1988, the Level III facility, consisting of solid cell-front housing units, was activated.