Dear CRC staff:
I know the recent announcement that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation proposes closing the California Rehabilitation Center (CRC) may have come as a shock. The decision to add this closure to our proposed plan, “The Future of California Corrections: A Blueprint to Save Billions of Dollars, End Federal Court Oversight and Improve the Prison System” (or the “Blueprint”) came as a result of long, hard deliberations.
I hope you understand that the proposed closure of the institution is neither a reflection on you nor on the fulfillment of your duties. The staff at CRC have done an exemplary job in ensuring the smooth functioning of the institution and the efficient care and custody of the inmates housed there. The decision to submit the CRC closure as part of our Blueprint has no bearing on, and is not a reflection of, your dedication and tradition of incredible public service. Rather, the factors that led to the decision included the fiscal environment facing both CDCR and the State, the out-dated design of the CRC facilities, the unusually high annual operating costs of running the facility, and the limitations in the types of offenders the physical plant design of CRC can appropriately house.
From luxury hotel to military hospital and subsequently, in 1962, a State prison, CRC has undergone many reincarnations. Even in its present utilization as a level II facility serving to rehabilitate civil narcotic addict commitments, CRC is still doing more than it was designed to do. Despite the enormous innovation the staff at CRC have shown in running the facility, the physical plant and facility limitations are showing the strain.
Our State has asked CRC to do more than it should for the past three decades. Despite the institution’s infrastructural limitations, each of you have been able to make sure we fulfill CDCR’s mission and that the institution remains safe for both inmates and staff alike. At this point, however, it is costlier to maintain the daily functions than is feasible or reasonable for the State, and it is not fair to have you continue to working in conditions that will only deteriorate further.
We appreciate all you do in fulfilling your duties and making the institution safe. We will ensure that the lines of communication remain open and that you are kept apprised of any changes or developments regarding CRC and its mission. In the event the closure is approved, we will work with you and employee organizations to reduce the impact on you and your families as much as we reasonably can.
MATTHEW L. CATE