By this time next year Deuel Vocational Institution just east of Tracy will be closed.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced on Friday that the 67-year-old prison on Kasson Road just east of Interstate 5, which houses about 1,500 inmates and employs 1,080 staff, will be deactivated by the end of September 2021.

In the statement, CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz said the department had planned to close at least one of the state’s prisons as part of state’s multi-year budget plan.

“Given the need to achieve savings and the decline in the prison population since 2007 the state budget called for the closure of a prison,” Diaz said. “DVI was chosen for closure based on cost to operate, impact of closure on the workforce and population housing needs, and prioritization of public safety and rehabilitation.”

Over the next year the CDCR will transfer staff and inmates to other institutions, with inmates reassigned based on their custody status and with consideration of the credit that they’ve earned through DVI’s rehabilitative, educational and self-help program.

It costs the state $182 million per-year to run DVI. The state’s 2020-21 budget allocated $13.4 billion to run the CDCR, including 35 adult prisons. The state projected nearly 125,900 inmates across the CDCR system in 2019-20, with an expected decrease of about 1,200 inmates for 2020-21. Plans to implement rehabilitation programs could divert another 8,600 offenders from having to serve prison sentences in the next year, according the state’s 2020-21 budget summary.

DVI opened in 1953 and is the sixth oldest prison in California. It had been the first stop for inmates in Northern California as they were evaluated for where they should serve out their sentences.

This will be the first time the CDCR has closed a prison since 2003, when the Northern California Women’s Facility in Stockton was closed. The CDCR noted that it is also reducing its use of private, for-profit prisons and out-of-state facilities to house California’s prison inmates.

Contact the Tracy Press at tpnews@tracypress.com or 835-3030.

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