Wasco State Prison-Reception Center celebrates 25 years of public safety

Staff who were part of the initial 1991 activation team gather for a group photo during the 25th anniversary celebration at WSP-RC.

Staff who were part of the initial 1991 activation team gather for a group photo during the 25th anniversary celebration at WSP-RC.

By Lt. Patrick Salgado, AA/Public Information Officer
Wasco State Prison-Reception Center

Wasco State Prison-Reception Center (WSP-RC) held its 25th Anniversary Celebration on May 20, inviting staff and their families, as well as the local citizens, to take part in the festivities.

Acting Warden Felix M. Vasquez welcomed visitors as the event opened with the singing of the National Anthem by WSP-RC’s own Nicola Frudden. WSP-RC’s Honor Guard presented the colors.  The event also featured demonstrations by the Kern County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit, CDCR Crisis Response Team, CDCR K-9 Team and the CDCR Transportation Unit.  There were also 30 event booths featuring food vendors, private business vendors and WSP-RC information booths.

Alex Garcia, representative for Assemblyman Rudy Salas, left, and Warden (A) Felix M. Vasquez.

Alex Garcia, representative for Assemblyman Rudy Salas, left, and Warden (A) Felix M. Vasquez.

The Wasco Car Club had a variety of cars on display.  The celebration ended with WSP-RC’s Regina Walker singing “America the Beautiful.”

Sgt. Michelle Miller worked closely with Warden Vasquez and other staff to make this a successful event.

The facility opened in February 1991 and covers 634 acres.  It has an annual operating budget of approximately $164 million and is designed to house 3,000 inmates. WSP-RC’s current inmate population is 4,997, with over 1,500 staff and volunteers employed at the prison.

WSP-RC was the first of two Reception Centers (RC) built in Kern County. The primary mission is to provide short-term housing necessary to process, classify and evaluate new inmates physically and mentally, and to determine their security level, program requirements and appropriate institutional placement.

A 1,000-bed medium custody facility houses general population inmates to help support and maintain the RC. A 200-bed minimum custody facility provides inmates to support the work areas outside of the perimeter fence.

Types of inmate work incentive employment include institutional maintenance, landscaping services, food services, firehouse, warehousing, vehicle maintenance, janitorial support, inmate clerks, education tutors, and Prison Industry Authority laundry, farm enterprise and health care facility maintenance.

CDCR K-9 demonstration.

CDCR K-9 demonstration.

WSP-RC processing requires a thorough medical evaluation of the population intake.

To meet the varied requirements of this diverse population, a 16-bed Correctional Treatment Center is available (with an additional safety  and observation cell) designed to provide care for the population who do not require general acute care services, but require professionally supervised health care beyond what is normally provided in the community on an outpatient basis.

Upon arrival at the RC, inmates are screened for medical issues and within 72 hours of arrival, all inmates receive an initial assessment in diagnostics to identify mental health issues and developmental disabilities. WSP-RC’s mental health services program has approximately 1,000 inmate-patients.

In addition to institution operations, WSP-RC manages an off-site Medical Guarding Unit (MGU) at Mercy Hospital in Bakersfield.

The MGU has  37 regularly scheduled custodial staff, and supports up to 58 inmate-patient hospital and 11 intensive care unit beds.  There are 14 CDCR institutions that can utilize the MGU.

Through CDCR’s Division of Rehabilitative Programs, WSP-RC also manages a Male Community Reentry Program (MCRP).

This program is designed to provide or arrange linkage to a range of community-based, rehabilitative services that assist with substance use disorders, mental health care, medical care, employment, education, housing, family reunification and social support.  The MCRP is designed to help participants successfully reenter the community from prison and reduce recidivism.

This is a voluntary program for CDCR inmates who have approximately 120 days left to serve.

Children enjoy some of the family friendly activities during the WSP-RC celebration.

Children enjoy some of the family friendly activities during the WSP-RC celebration.

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