A 700-bed detention facility in McFarland will close following a decision by Gov. Gavin Newsom to phase out the state’s use of private prisons.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced on Friday that the organization intends to stop using the Central Valley Modified Community Correctional Facility at the end of September.
“As CDCR’s inmate population has steadily declined, the department has also reduced its reliance on the use of contract facilities,” a CDCR spokesperson said in a statement. “Last month, CDCR exited its remaining out-of-state facility in Arizona. CDCR will house the inmates in existing state prisons, and reassign staff accordingly.”
In 2013, CDCR entered into a five-year lease agreement with the private prison company, Geo Group Inc. as a way to ease the overcrowding state prison system.
Currently, there are 641 inmates at the facility, according to CDCR.
Geo, which also operates the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Center in Bakersfield for the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agency, said it was proud of the services provided by the employees of McFarland facility.
“We have always strived to be part of the solution, helping meet California’s recidivism reduction goals,” a Geo spokesperson said in a statement. “We are pleased to have been able to provide cost-effective solutions for California’s taxpayers when the state’s prison system faced capacity constraints.”
Terms of the lease were not reported at the time of the agreement. At the time, an estimated 145 correctional and administrative officers were expected to be hired to staff the prison.
“We are thankful for the dedication of our employees who have faithfully served this mission at the Central Valley facility, and we are committed to assisting them in this time of professional transition,” Geo said.
It is unclear where the inmates of the prison will be sent. CDCR does not discuss inmate movement, the spokesperson said.
Geo operates at least two other private prisons in McFarland, the Golden State Modified Community Correctional Facility and the McFarland Female Community Reentry Facility.
“We recognize that the state’s needs have changed and are committed to a smooth operational transition, which underscores the inherent flexibility for the state to be able to rely on private sector service providers,” Geo said.