Judge Rules against Susanville, Allowing CA to Continue Plans to Close Prison – More CA Prisons Could Be Next to Shutter

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By The Vanguard Staff

SACRAMENTO, CA – The state of California is free to continue efforts to immediately close the California Correctional Center (CCC), after visiting Lassen County Judge Robert F. Moody ruled against the city of Susanville Thursday which attempted to stop the facility from closing—a preliminary injunction had halted the state’s closure plans.

Brian Kaneda, Deputy Director of Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), predicted more state prisons could close soon, noting,
“In order to best achieve these goals, decisions about which prisons to close next need to happen soon,” said Kaneda, adding CURB last year released a roadmap to close at least 10 prisons across the state.

Susanville had sought to keep the CCC—six-decade-old facility in need of a half billion dollars in repairs—open indefinitely, although Gov. Newsom’s 2022-2023 Enacted Budget stipulated CCC must close by June 30, 2023.

The state, in its request for an “expedited” decision Sept. 2 to dismiss the lawsuit, said the court was using stalling tactics in “disregard of clear law” (and) “an abuse of the court’s discretion.”

Critics of the lawsuit said the case was “drawn out (and) contentious” and featured an amicus brief demanding a decision in May from those incarcerated in CCC.

“Throughout this entire litigation, the prisoners inside CCC have been treated either as revenue or as irrelevant,” said Shakeer Rahman, an attorney who filed the amicus brief. Incarcerated organizers released a public statement in late August criticizing the court process, asking the court to do “the right thing,” and shut the prison down.

Prisoner advocates have claimed more state prisons could soon close, especially after Gov. Newsom’s actions “affirmed the state’s right to select which prisons to close (and) reduced local government’s ability to challenge state prison closure decisions in the future.”

“Newsom has shown a lot of leadership, but now more than ever the state needs a concrete plan to close prisons included in the January 2023-24 proposed budget,” said Deputy Director Brian Kaneda of CURB. “California officials are laying the groundwork for more closures. Prisons that could close in tandem with CCC are actively being discussed in the public sphere.”

Groups supporting the prison closure said, “Closing CCC will save Californians at least $122 million per year. The state’s own nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office produced a report in November of 2020 that outlined at least $1.5 billion annually in savings if California committed to closing five prisons by 2025.” 

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