CDCR Time Capsule 1991: New Wasco State Prison-Reception Center receives first inmates

Acting Warden Mike Carillo is ready for the challenges of running the state’s first all-new reception center and prison.

Acting Warden Mike Carillo is ready for the challenges of running the state’s first all-new reception center and prison.

Editor’s note: This is the first in a new series. Correction News, a publication of what was then known as the Department of Corrections, published this story in February 1991 (volume 4, number 8). Wasco State Prison received its first inmates Feb. 1, 1991. The facility recently celebrated its 25th anniversary.

By April Cleland
Correction News Reporter

Feb. 1 marked the opening of the department’s first all-new reception center and prison at Wasco. Inmates arrived by bus to begin occupying the 2,484-bed facility.

The 1,784-bed reception center will provide short-term housing for inmates while they are processed, classified and evaluated to determine their security level and institutional placement.

The prison also includes a 500-bed Level III facility for general population inmates who will maintain the reception center and a 200-bed Level I facility whose inmates will be assigned to community work crews.

Initially, incoming inmates will occupy only the Level I and III areas of the facility. The reception center is scheduled to open in June.

Before the inmates arrived, the prison hosted three open houses. On Jan. 26, the general public was invited. The local community has strongly supported the project and officials felt this was a unique chance for them to see what their tax money paid for.

Acting Warden Mike Carillo said, “It was a team effort. I’m extremely pleased with the assignment. This is a chance to apply what I’ve learned over the years.”

Law enforcement officials were given private tours of the facility on Jan. 25.

On Jan. 12, the facility opened its doors to a group of problem youths in the area. The invited students came from continuation schools, opportunity classes in high school or were identified by the local sheriff’s department as being involved in gangs or drugs.

Of the 50 youths that had been invited, seven or eight missed the bus from town. They were so eager to see the prison, they walked the intervening three miles. The tour was given by officials from the state corrections department, school districts and representatives from the sheriff’s office.

“The youths were full of questions,” said Alf Christianson, Community Resources Manager. “Several of them even asked how to become a Correctional Officer, and if you can become one if you have a juvenile record.”

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5 Responses

  1. J. Carrillo Thursday, May 26, 2016 / 11:04 am

    I must have heard 15 times yesterday “You look just like your Dad!” LOL

    Many fantastic people have been part of our staff here at WSP-RC over the years and though a lot of the faces may be different 25 years after its activation, there remains a great team spirit. I’m proud to be part of the Wasco family! Thanks OPEC staff for sharing this article. Looking forward to some more blasts from the past.

  2. Erik Sodergren Thursday, May 26, 2016 / 8:14 am

    E. Sodergren CPS (A) Started my career at WSPRC in 1998. Great people, dedicated Staff, made friends that I will cherish forever! I hope everyone still remembers “The Wedge”

  3. Darin Standiford Wednesday, May 25, 2016 / 11:01 pm

    I arrived here in July 1991 from Galt. WSP was half-operational. We were about 120 fresh fish back then. There are 13 of us left here. We’re not so fresh anymore. Most changes have been good. I’m now the grumpy old Sgt I didn’t like when I started. Too much fun messing with the youngsters, Lol. On global if you’re a classmate. Old guards talking about when we were youngsters if fun. Take Care.

    Darin Standiford

  4. Robert Gautney Wednesday, May 25, 2016 / 3:41 pm

    I was here on Jan. 2, 1991 and I’m still here! Watch S&E, Security Squad, Sgt. and CCI for the last 19 yrs. 583 days to go!

  5. B. STRINGER MTA Wednesday, May 25, 2016 / 10:23 am

    Started my career at WSP, in 1996-2005 as a MTA. Good times!

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