Employees at the California Correctional Center (CCC) in Susanville will need to find new jobs by June 2023, according to an article in the Sacramento Bee.
Gov. Gavin Newsom first announced the closure of CCC in April 2021. By August, the citizens of Susanville filed for a preliminary injunction citing a violation of California’s Environmental Quality Act and the California Penal Code. The injunction was granted by a Lassen County Superior Court judge.
“CCC is the second largest employer in our town, so it’s devastating. It’s devastating to our families and to these people who have worked here,” Mayor Mendy Schuster told the Epoch Times in 2021. “We have generations who have worked here at CCC. The prisons have become who we are as a community.”
The state’s new budget, passed by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Newsom, now bypasses those environmental reviews.
The court’s injunction remains in place for now, according to Vicky Waters, spokesperson for the corrections department, in a June 30 email statement to the Bee. “We will notify our staff, incarcerated population and stakeholders of any updates or changes.”
As of March, CCC employed about 1,000 people and held 1,600 prisoners.
In June, two incarcerated residents of CCC reported that they filed three petitions in 2021, citing various examples of harm inflicted upon them at the prison. Their story was shared with TruthOut news, an online publication.
“Rather than reading more stories about the woes of the town’s free residents, its well past time that Gov. Newsom and all Californians hear from us, the imprisoned population of Susanville,” wrote Duane Palm and Timothy Peoples. “Our abuse continues and could escalate the longer this closure is stalled,” they told TruthOut.
The two complained that CCCs closure needs to be expedited due to deplorable living conditions. Allegations include dangerous conditions due to COVID-19 and prisoners being used as “product and property for the benefit of [Susanville’s] economic growth.
“It seems that some Susanville residents believe that propping up their economy through the caging of human beings—like the two of us, who are incarcerated in CCC—is justifiable,” said Palm and Peoples.
The men argued that Susanville residents need to make big changes in how their economy is organized and should get away from the belief that caging human beings for profit is acceptable.
It appears the Newsom administration agrees, at least in part, that the facility is no longer necessary, and that the closure should move forth.