Publication: Sacramento Bee
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has plans to shut down two prisons, but more closures could soon be on the way because of the state’s rapidly shrinking inmate population.
According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the state could close a total of five prisons by 2025, which in turn could save an estimated $1.5 billion in annual spending. The corrections department, which has a budget of $16 billion, oversees 34 prisons and more than 50,000 employees.
Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, has been an outspoken supporter of cutting prison expenses, and he commended the state’s Tuesday decision to close the California Correctional Center in Susanville.
“We spend almost as much on our corrections system as we do for our higher education system, and most Californians would say that’s not the best use of taxpayer funds,” Ting said in an interview.
Ting called the closure announcement a good first step, but said that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation needs to do a better job of identifying potential prison closures, and also of working with communities to mitigate the impact of shutdowns.