Friday, September 17, 2021

Susanville’s small victory in the fight to save California Correctional Center

The court has granted a preliminary injunction to Susanville, California, to suspend current attempts to close the California Correctional Center (CCC), which the state hopes to close the Susanville prison.

On August 27, many people in Lassen County gathered in front of the California State Capitol to oppose the closure of the CCC. The SEIU Local 1000 union organized this rally to support CCC employees and oppose the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) decision to close the prison.

In the same week, the Lassen County Superior Court granted Susanville a preliminary injunction, but many city residents believe that the legal battle is not over yet.

Epoch Times Photos
On August 27, 2021, people protested the closure of the California Correctional Center at a rally in Sacramento, California. (Cynthia Cai/The Epoch Times)

Jack Dean, Chairman of the Regional Labor Committee 792 SEIU Local 1000, told NTD News: “As far as we know, [the preliminary injunction is] Still in place; however, we do know that we have been reporting that things are still moving towards closure. “

The CCC facility accommodates low-level prisoners and cooperates with several fire camps, including the nearby antelope protection camp, to train low-level prisoners to become firefighters. CCC is one of the two state prisons in the city and is the main economic resource of Susanville.

The union stated that the CDCR and other state government officials will not come to the negotiating table for negotiations or discussions.

“the most important is, [state officials] Will not negotiate with us. They are changing the working conditions of national workers and they are not meeting and negotiating with the union to ensure that we have no problems with the working conditions of the people we represent,” Dean said.

Locals and union representatives in Susanville said they hope state officials will listen to their concerns and abide by current laws and procedures regarding prison closures and labor contracts.

Epoch Times Photos
Epoch Times Photos
On August 27, 2021, at a rally in Sacramento, California, a protester held up a sign supporting Larsen County. (Cynthia Cai/The Epoch Times)

CCC closure announcement

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on April 13 that it intends to close the CCC before June 30, 2022. statement In a letter to CCC staff, the purpose of the decision was “to reduce costs and deal with the decline in the number of prisoners.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that closing the prison will save approximately $122 million a year.

“The significant reduction in the state’s imprisoned population over the past year has allowed the CDCR to advance the closure of these prisons in a deliberate manner that does not affect public safety, and focuses on people successfully returning to the community once they are released from our prisons. Guardianship, “CDCR Secretary Kathleen Allison said in a statement Press release.

The decline in the number of prisoners in California is usually attributed to Governor Gavin Newsom’s decision to release thousands of prisoners in mid-2020 and early 2021.

City Chief Executive Dan Newton told NTD News: “The city has received an oral notice that the prison has been selected to close. Before that, we have no contact with the state. We don’t know the announcement is coming. So needless to say, it’s for us. It was a huge shock.”

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California Office of Legislative Analysis Suggest The state avoids closing prisons with special missions—including CCC and its fire camp missions—because such closures may have an impact on operations across the state. In the same report, among the 12 oldest state prisons, CCC ranked 11th in terms of repair and maintenance costs.

“What we immediately started to do was contact the state and ask for information. We made a request for the Public Records Act…just to understand why we chose our prison,” Newton said.

In May, the CDCR met with the Supervisory Board of the City of Susanville to discuss the closure decision, but city officials told The Epoch Times that the department had not communicated with the city since then.

Epoch Times Photos
Epoch Times Photos
On August 27, 2021, Susanville City Administrator Dan Newton spoke with NTD News at a rally in Sacramento, California. (Ted Lin/The Epoch Times)

Litigation against CDCR

On July 28, the city submitted a performance order and temporary restraining order to the CDCR and Governor Gavin Newsom to prevent the closure of the CCC.

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“Such a decision will have such a huge impact. It will basically weaken our economy and limit our ability to provide our own public safety services. Despite many attempts, as the city of Susanville, we have not yet contacted the Governor’s Office. Make any communication,” Newton said.

He explained that the CDCR does make an effort to ask whether prison employees are willing to transfer to other institutions voluntarily.

On August 23, the Lassen County Superior Court approved a preliminary injunction to suspend further efforts to close the prison until a future court hearing.

The CDC told The Epoch Times in an email statement: “The department is currently evaluating our options and will continue to engage with all stakeholders.”

Epoch Times Photos
Epoch Times Photos
Sign to the California Correctional Center in Susanville, California. (Provided by the city of Susanville)

CCC’s role in California

The CCC was originally established in 1963 and now accommodates prisoners with low security and some level 3 security. The prison’s fire camp plan trains low-security prisoners to become firefighters, and they usually continue to work with CalFire.

“When fighting fires in California, this camp is a huge resource. I think that lower-level prisoners have the opportunity to acquire some of the experience and skills that are so much needed at this time. They have the opportunity, and once released, they can explore career opportunities in fire fighting. Therefore. , I think this may be one of the most successful rehabilitation efforts implemented in the state,” Newton said.

Prisons are one of the main economic resources of this small city. The mayor said that the loss of prisons may cause the city’s population and economic stability to shrink further.

Epoch Times Photos
Epoch Times Photos
On August 27, 2021, Susanville Mayor Mendy Schuster waits to speak at a rally in Sacramento, California. (Cynthia Cai/The Epoch Times)

Susanville Mayor Mendy Schuster said: “CCC is the second largest employer in our town, so it is devastating. It is devastating for our family and those who work here. We have been in CCC for generations. Worked. Prison has become what we are as a community.”

Since the CDCR’s announcement, residents have formed groups to raise awareness of the closure. It is not clear whether the CDCR or the Governor’s Office will attempt to appeal the decision of the Larsen County Superior Court.

Cynthia Tsai

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

Susanville's small victory in the fight to save California Correctional Center
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