The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) on July 24 dedicated a newly constructed mental health treatment facility at California State Prison-Corcoran, the latest addition to the department’s $2 billion expansion of medical and mental health facilities to meet court-ordered improvements in the quality of care provided to inmates.
Approximately 34,000 prison inmates, or about 25 percent of California’s total prison population, require some form of mental health treatment.
“This project is just the most recent investment CDCR has made to continue providing quality medical and mental health care to California inmates,” said Dr. Diana Toche, CDCR Undersecretary for Administration and Offender Services. “Most mentally ill inmates will eventually be released from prison and so treatment ultimately makes our communities safer.”
The two-story, 14,932 square foot building, one of seven new mental health facilities constructed by CDCR, will house rooms for group and individual counseling sessions, recreational therapy and treatment, in addition to offices for clinical professional staff.
The new facility is one of 65 projects involving the expansion or construction of new facilities within CDCR’s 34 prisons to improve medical, mental health and dental care in recent years. The largest of those, the California Health Care Facility, a 1.4 million square foot, $839 million medical and mental health complex, accepted the first of 1,722 inmate patients in Stockton this week and will provide acute care to the state’s sickest inmates that require long term care.
The new Corcoran facility is seeking Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for its environmental and energy-saving features. They include use of low-emitting paints to improve indoor air quality, solar panels and highly efficient heating and air conditioning units to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and features that increase natural light and conserve water. In addition, much of the excess construction material was recycled.
Approximately 75 Corcoran inmates helped to build the facility as they participated in a vocational training program that prepares them to work in the construction trades when they are released. During construction, 40 inmates earned certificates for operation of heavy equipment, welding, hazmat awareness and other construction skills that will make them more employable, which reduces recidivism.