Friday, November 6, 2009

CDCR Finalizes Plan to Convert Former Juvenile Facility

DeWitt site is one of Several Planned to Satisfy Lawsuits Ordering Increases in Medical/Mental Health Beds

SACRAMENTO - The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), working collaboratively with the federal receiver's office, announced that it plans to convert the former DeWitt Nelson Youth Correctional Facility (DeWitt) in Stockton to satisfy court mandates to provide medical and mental health facility for adult males. The decision was made after CDCR and the receiver's office met with Stockton leaders last week to seek their input on the plan.

"Our department will continue to keep an open dialogue with community leaders and elected officials in Stockton as this important project to address inmate medical and mental health needs and reduce overcrowding in our prisons moves forward," said CDCR Secretary Matt Cate.

The conversion of DeWitt is part of the state's overall efforts to increase bed capacity for medical services as required under the court order in the Coleman v Schwarzenegger lawsuit. The detailed plan will be included in a comprehensive statewide plan to be filed by CDCR on November 6, as required by the court. This project is one of several being planned for construction statewide to provide additional capacity for the state's prison population.

The DeWitt facility will be converted into a 1,133-bed complex for housing Level II adult males with medical and mental health needs. Level II inmates are considered inmates requiring low-to-medium security custody. DeWitt, which opened in 1971, is located on 40 acres near Stockton and housed as many as 638 youth offenders, closed in July 2008 due to downward trend in the juvenile offender population. Working with the Receiver and a Special Master in the Coleman court, the department determined that DeWitt could be renovated and expanded to meet the mental health beds mandated by the Court and the required medical beds identified by the Receiver.

DeWitt, a 138,000 gross square feet facility, includes four dormitory housing units, a kitchen/dining facility, a warehouse, a central plant, a laundry, medical services, a chapel program services buildings and administrative support buildings. The proposed scope of the plan would renovate any structures necessary to house the new population as well as construct additional secure housing for inmates requiring mental health services. The project also includes strengthening security measures.

CDCR is required to submit an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), which will afford the public and stakeholders an opportunity to review and comment on the specific elements of the planned projects. CDCR anticipates hosting a number of community forums to allow interested community members to participate in the planning process.

The DeWitt project - estimated to cost approximately $120 to $150 million - would provide an estimated 1,110 to 1,300 construction jobs. Once the complex is activities, it could employ between 500 to 600 staff.

Two weeks ago, the receiver and CDCR signed a Statement of Decision and Resolution of Approval to construct the Northern California Consolidated Care Facility on the site of the currently vacant Karl Holton Youth Correctional Facility in Stockton. This project is expected to begin in 2010 and provide health care services to accommodate up to 1,754 inmates. This facility alone will provide more than 9,000 construction jobs, up to 3,000 staff jobs and have an economic impact of over $1 billion annually.

CDCR also is in the process of converting the former Northern California Women's Facility to a proposed 500-inmate Northern California Reentry Facility in Stockton. This planned facility, which is in the early stages of the environmental review process, is expected to provide intense rehabilitative services for soon-to-be released inmates from San Joaquin, Calaveras and Amador counties. Those three counties, which supported the project along with the state Legislature in 2007, will receive a combined $128 million to expand their local jail capacity.

CDCR is required to provide new beds and treatment space for over 1,400 inmates requiring mental health services enrolled in CDCR's Enhanced Outpatient Program pursuant to an order of the Coleman Court. The federal Receiver requires that CDCR also provide new beds and treatment space for over 1,400 inmates requiring medical services in an outpatient setting.

Additional Related Information:

Coleman Filing (PDF)
CDCR Files Comprehensive Statewide Plan for Medical and Mental Health Beds in Response to Coleman Lawsuit
Prison Plans for Chino Include Converting Former Juvenile Facility to House Adult Males