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.