A plan by the Newsom administration and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to close the California Correctional Center (CCC) in Susanville was dealt a setback this week when a Lassen County judge issued a Temporary Restraining Order halting the closure. The order was based on the State’s failure to comply with the requirements of the California Penal Code, including how and whether it considered specific criteria (such as operational and infrastructure costs) and included this information in notices to the Legislature. CDCR is far and away the largest employer in Lassen County, employing roughly 2,300 people, while the next 13 largest employers cumulatively employ approximately 2,100 people in Susanville. The closure of CCC by itself would result in the loss of approximately 1,000 jobs. For a sense of the scope of the impact of the closure, the entire population of Lassen County is approximately 35,000.
Unfortunately for the CDCR employees, Lassen County, and the City of Susanville (which filed the lawsuit), the State will likely be able to comply with the requirements in time and move forward with the closure. But this reprieve provides a glimmer of hope for those impacted. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for August 17th, when the judge will consider whether to make his order more permanent by issuing a preliminary injunction or to allow State to move forward with the closure.