Yesterday, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) announced the deactivation of California Correctional Center (CCC) in Susanville by June 30, 2022. The deactivation of CCC, a remote, 58 year old facility in need of over $500 million in infrastructure repairs, is part of the Newsom Administration’s plan to close two state-owned prisons (the first, Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, will deactivate by September 30, 2021) in California. In addition to CCC, Level 1 facilities at California Correctional Institution (CCI) in Tehachapi and Correctional Training Facility (CTF) in Soledad will close by June 2022.
CURB celebrates this moment in California history as we finally begin to close state-owned prisons, and applauds Governor Gavin Newsom’s personal pledge to close two state prisons by 2023.
However, not a single person is scheduled to be released as a result of CCC’s “closure.” All 2,064 people incarcerated at CCC will be transferred to other facilities in the system, which continues to operate above 100% design capacity.
Like DVI, CCC is scheduled for deactivation–not permanent closure–and will likely be maintained in a “warm shutdown” mode, which keeps plumbing, electrical, and water treatment operations active and staff on hand in case of an “emergency.” This is NOT prison closure.
Despite the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) assertion that California could close five prisons by 2025, saving an estimated $1.5 billion, CDCR has openly admitted that they have no concrete plans for actual prison closure, claiming there are “too many unknowns” to permanently close prisons like CCC and DVI. California legislators and advocates alike have named CDCR’s failure to provide the state with a plan for closure as either an act of incompetence, intentional resistance, or both.
We call for The People’s Plan for Prison Closure, which would prioritize our urgent public health needs, promote genuine alternatives to incarceration, and foster fiscal responsibility.
Our coalition firmly believes that any roadmap created to close prisons must be participatory, centering the voices of Californians who are most impacted by incarceration, including people who are currently incarcerated; formerly incarcerated people; their family members across the states, and people living in prison towns.
Prison closures must center releases of individuals, not rely on transfers to other prisons. Californians have been voting and advocating for a shift in our approach to public safety, demanding less reliance on prisons and police.
In step with those most impacted, CURB is calling to prioritize public health by shutting down at least ten state-owned prisons by 2025 as a truly bold step toward accountability and racial justice.
Now is the time for bold action and permanently closing a minimum of ten prisons in five years and redirecting the funds wasted on cages to real, community-based solutions of care and safety.
CURB endorses the following campaigns and 2021 proposed legislation to support California’s growing trend towards decarceration through mass releases and prison closure:
Repeal all draconian sentencing and lengthy sentencing enhancements with retroactive implementation including, but not limited to, LWOP sentencing, death penalty, the Three-Strikes Law, gun enhancements, gang enhancements, and enhancements for prior felony convictions.
Pass the Racial Justice Act for All (AB 256 Kalra 2021) to allow currently incarcerated people to challenge sentences that were racially motivated and extend opportunities for release in the name of racial justice.
Pass the RISE Act (SB 483 Allen 2021) to retroactively apply the elimination of the three-year and one-year enhancements enacted by the Legislature in 2017 and 2019 to all persons currently serving a term of incarceration in jail or prison for these repealed sentence enhancements.
Pass the Sentencing Reform Act (SB 300 Cortese 2021) to reform CA’s unjust “felony murder special circumstance” law and restore judge’s discretion to strike the “special circumstances” enhancement for people serving LWOP or condemned sentences.