PASO ROBLES - Today, representatives from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) met with local leaders from San Luis Obispo County and Paso Robles to talk about the future of the El Paso de Robles Correctional Facility. The meeting was convened by CDCR to provide an informational update to the city and county about the status of the repurposing options for the El Paso de Robles Youth Correctional Facility. The facility is planned for closure as a Division of Juvenile Justice facility on July 31, 2008, in response to a declining juvenile population statewide.
"The state has partnered with the local community in Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo County for many years, and has always sought to be a good neighbor. There is a strong desire at the state and local level to reuse this facility in a way that is beneficial to the local community and the state," said Bernard Warner, CDCR Chief Deputy Secretary for Juvenile Justice. "We are optimistic that we can come up with a reuse plan that will keep good jobs in the local community, while continuing with our mission to improve public safety by providing rehabilitation to inmates."
Since the proposed closure of the juvenile facility was announced in early January, CDCR has committed to keeping the community informed, as well as to solicit public comment on proposed reuse of the 150 acre facility, which first began operation as a California Youth Authority facility in 1947. After the upcoming closure of the youth facility was announced, CDCR conducted a site evaluation to determine options for reuse.
A reuse concept discussed with local officials today is the possibility of converting the facility to house low-level older male inmates (50+ years of age). The facility previously housed an average daily population of approximately 1,000 wards, and could be relatively easily converted to be used for this lower-level older male inmate population. This proposed reuse would ease adult overcrowding and provide infill bed options to the adult prison operation, while maintaining local jobs.
Environmental impact reviews and public hearings on the proposal discussed today are forthcoming, and the state remains open to discussing additional or alternative uses of the property as a correctional facility.