As outlined in Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed 2022-23 State budget, Chuckawalla Valley State Prison has been selected for closure by March 2025. This prison is located in Blythe, California and plays a central role in the economy of its surrounding community. Residents and City leaders in Blythe are concerned about the possibly devastating effects this prison closure could have. The newly formed ‘Save Chuck’ coalition represents an effort to make the voices of the people of Blythe heard.
Chuckawalla is a top employer in the City of Blythe, providing more than 800 jobs to a population of 14,682 residents. The families of many prison employees, as well as the families of inmates, work important jobs within the community. If Chuckawalla were to close, Blythe would not only lose the jobs provided by the prison, but would also lose a number of teachers, public servants and essential workers who serve that population.
“City of Blythe business owners, non-profit groups, youth organizations and community leaders rely on the prison as a staple to their livelihoods,” said Kati Cusick, President of the Blythe Chamber of Commerce. “Many businesses that serve the prison rely on prison sales and closing the prison will be detrimental to our economy, especially community institutions like Palo Verde Hospital and Palo Verde College.”
“The closure of Chuckawalla Valley State Prison would create a ripple effect across every industry in our city,” said City of Blythe Vice Mayor Johnny Rodriguez.
Chuckawalla’s closure would also have a significant impact on community institutions within Blythe. The prison plays a crucial role in maintaining Blythe’s Palo Verde Hospital, which is the only community hospital within 50 miles of the city.
“The Palo Verde Hospital relies on Chuckwalla for its continued operations,” said Sandra Anaya, Chief Executive Officer, Palo Verde Hospital Board. “The hospital would be deeply affected if Chuckawalla were to close.”
The ‘Save Chuck’ coalition is urging Blythe residents to join in the fight to keep Chuckawalla Valley State Prison open and ensure that Blythe’s economy can survive. To learn more about the ‘Save Chuck’ movement and join the Save Chuck coalition, visit savechuck.org