Saturday, October 9, 2010

What's He Building In There?

CDCR has rebuilt the Chino Institute for Men, destroyed in a riot a few months ago. Some information about the rebuilding process and its outcome, from the CDCR website:

Cost to rebuild the dormitories was reduced significantly by using inmate labor from the Inmate Ward Labor program. The program teaches inmates vocational skills that can be used to gain employment once they are released from prison. Inmates learned how to operate heavy equipment and were taught trades such as masonry, concrete mixing, drywall installation, wall texturing, carpentry, welding and general construction techniques.

The rebuilding effort also incorporated improved safety features.

“The materials used during the rebuilding and some of the systems built into the facility will provide a safer and more secure environment for inmates, staff and the public,” said Deborah Hysen, CDCR’s Chief Deputy Secretary for Facilities, Planning and Construction Management. “For example, porcelain sinks and fixtures, which can be broken into sharp pieces, were replaced with durable stainless steel.”

After the repairs were completed, CDCR changed the mission of CIM West from a reception center to a Level II facility, and the inmate population was reduced from 1,298 before the riot to an estimated 960 in October 2010.

“The mutual aid and cooperation by the city of Chino, law enforcement and surrounding fire departments were invaluable during this emergency," said Fakhoury. "We appreciate the long-standing partnership we share with our surrounding community,”

CIM is one of 33 prisons operated by CDCR. It opened in 1941. The peak population at CIM was 6,665 inmates in October 2003. It currently houses 4,751 minimum- and medium-security inmates and employs 2,327 people.

I'm trying to understand the discrepancy in inmate numbers. Does this mean that the institution as a 960-inmate capacity and it currently houses 4,751 inmates? Or that 960 people remained on the premises after the riot and now there are 4,751? If any of our readers know what the new capacity and population are like, please enlighten us in the comments. The other interesting feature here is the opportunity to make the rebuilding into a vocational program, which might be a successful idea depending on whether it is, indeed, a program shaped to help inmates develop skills such as getting to work on time and collaborating with supervisors, rather than merely cheap labor.

But more rebuilding is going on. The state is looking for a suitable site for a new reentry facility. Building in Fairfield is proving problematic, and CDCR is examining the possibility of building in Vacaville. More details on the Reporter:

As about 1,000 inmates are paroled to Solano each year, local leaders have embraced the need for a re-entry facility, which would house prisoners serving the final 12 to 18 months of their sentence. Through educational, career, life skills and other training, the inmates would be re-acclimated to the community and prepared for life on the "outside."

Choosing a site for the facility has been a challenge. Originally, expansion near Fairfield's Sentenced Detention Facility on Claybank Road was hotly pursued, but dropped when Fairfield officials withdrew their support.

The pitch to Vacaville, which already houses two institutions, has to do with job creation, as is often the case when introducing a correctional institution to a community. The advantage of building in a place that already has a prison is that persuasion might be easier, and the infrastructure, in terms of a cooperative community, is already in place. For more on this, I recommend the excellent documentary about Susanville, titled Prison Town, USA.


Robert Canning said...

CIM is actually several facilities on one piece of land. There is the reception center (often abbreviated to RCC - Reception Center Central), and CIM - East and West facilities. West has been home to a number of low security dorms and the Minimum Support Facility (MSF) that has level I inmates. The fire and riot happened in West facility where inmates are housed who are "endorsed," rather than in the RC.

Hope this helps

Robert Canning
Davis, CA

Anonymous said...

CIM West, which the post says houses 960, is just one of several facilities on the CIM site.

CIM's wikipedia page states that there are three reception centers (soon to become two I guess once CIM West is transitioned from a RC to level II) along with a Level I facility.

Hadar Aviram said...

Thanks, Robert and Anonymous; this is very helpful.