Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions2023-02-22T00:44:50-08:00

Have additional questions that are not answered here? You can submit questions through the Contact form.


Why is the State closing prisons?2023-02-22T00:31:49-08:00

The CDCR has been closing prisons in the past few years in compliance with reduced funding for prisons being included in State budgets, as well as Governor Newsom’s commitment to phase out the use of private prisons in California.

Declining prison populations have also been cited as motivating prison closures. Closing prisons would bring the prison population closer to the State’s 137% capacity limit, though it is worth noting that the prison population is still at 108.5% (as of 12/31/2022) and prison closures would lead facilities to more overcrowding.

Since 2003, CDCR closed the following prisons:

  • Northern California Women’s Facility in Stockton
  • Deuel Vocational Institution
  • Central Valley Modified Community Correctional Facility
  • Desert View Modified Community Correctional Facility
  • Golden State Modified Community Correctional Facility
  • Delano Modified Community Correctional Facility
  • McFarland Female Community Reentry Facility

CDCR also exited public-private contracts:

  • Taft Modified Community Correctional Facility
  • Shafter Modified Community Correctional Facility

CDCR expected closures for 2023:

  • California Correctional Center in Susanville by June 30, 2023.
  • All Division of Juvenile Justice facilities by June 30, 2023.

There are also plans to deactivate facilities within prisons:

  • Folsom Women’s Facility (deactivated January 2023)
  • West Facility in California Men’s Colony
  • Facility C in Pelican Bay State Prison
  • Facility A in California Rehabilitation Center
  • Facility D in California Institution for Men
  • Facility D in California Correctional Institution
Why was Chuckawalla chosen to be closed?2023-02-22T00:33:14-08:00

According to the CDCR, Chuckawalla Valley State Prison was selected for closure based on the factors set forth in Penal Code section 2067, which includes factors such as costs to operate at capacity, impact of closure on the workforce, housing needs for all populations, long-term investments in state-owned and operated correctional facilities, public safety and rehabilitation, and durability of the state’s solution to prison overcrowding.

What can we do to stop the closure of Chuckawalla?2023-02-22T00:33:46-08:00

You can reach out to your legislators and the Governor via letters and social media. You can educate your friends and family about the importance of Chuckawalla to your community.

Impacts of the Closure

How will the closure impact the community?2023-02-22T00:34:42-08:00

The City of Blythe is a rural community with few economic prospects and Chuckawalla Valley State Prison is Blythe’s second-largest employer. It provides approximately 800 jobs to a population of 17,793 residents and plays a crucial role in sustaining Blythe’s economy. If Chuckawalla were to leave Blythe, so would the jobs that it provides, and the economic impact would be devastating.

Further, the families of Chuckawalla inmates have made Blythe their home. With a low cost of living, Blythe makes it financially feasible for inmates and their families to stick together. Closing Blythe and relocating inmates would mean the families of inmates would also have to move to stay near their loved ones, and this could spell an intense financial burden for these families. Families of prison employees, many of which include Blythe’s teachers, public servants, and essential workers, would also relocate.

Finally, Chuckawalla plays a crucial role in maintaining Blythe’s Palo Verde Hospital. This hospital serves both Palo Verde Valley and La Paz County, and is the only community hospital within 50 miles of Blythe. It is not clear that the hospital’s continued operations would be viable if Chuckawalla were to close.


Are there other prisons that make better candidates for closure?2023-02-22T07:44:59-08:00

Chuckawalla is just one of many prisons in California that could be closed. For many reasons, the City of Norco’s California Rehabilitation Center (CRC) in particular is a more fitting candidate for closure. 

As calculated by the Legislative Analyst’s Office in its State Prison Infrastructure Report, CRC requires $670 million more than Chuckawalla in infrastructure maintenance costs. Additionally, The Californians United for a Responsible Budget’s (CURB) report on  People’s Plan for Prison Closure proposes a list of prisons that are top contenders for closure on the basis of the following criteria: Unsafe health conditions (i.e. water contamination, poison, asbestos, mold, etc.), overcrowding, cost of incarceration, location of the prison and distance from loved ones (including inaccessible travel), homicide/suicide rates. CRC is the #1 prison on this list while Chuckawalla is not included on the list at all.

CRC has been slated for closure multiple times in the past decade, and Norco residents have also advocated for this closure for years. Not to mention, this alternative solution would have a relatively small effect on Norco’s community and economy as compared to the effect that Chuckawalla’s closure would have on Blythe.

How would Blythe and the State of California California benefit from keeping Chuckawalla open?2023-02-22T07:46:00-08:00

By selecting CRC for closure instead of Chuckawalla, the State could not only better ensure fiscal responsibility, but also better satisfy the criteria for choosing a prison to close that they selected: specifically the effects on the local workforce, long-term investments in state-owned and operated correctional facilities, and public safety and rehabilitation.

Chuckawalla is a self-sustaining facility. It contains state-of-the-art energy efficient equipment such as solar panels, a water treatment plant, and a new energy-efficient air conditioning unit. As recently as 3 years ago, CDCR invested in a zero net energy (ZNE) healthcare facility at Chuckawalla. These modifications result in lower operational costs and allow for the allocation of funds to other areas by the CDCR. 

Further, investments in Chuckawalla have proven successful. Funding of healthcare facilities and programs have led to improved health services for Chuckawalla’s inmates, as well as Blythe community members who benefit from Chuckawalla’s support for the Palo Verde Hospital. Investment in the rehabilitation of inmates has also been high. One such rehabilitative program is Integrated Substance Use Disorder Treatment (ISUDT), which significantly reduces mortality, morbidity, and recidivism rates.

How can I help?2023-03-08T09:08:50-08:00

We appreciate your interest in getting involved! Please consider the following:

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