Dec 21, 2012
California Correctional Institution
California Correctional Institution (CCI) is a state prison located in Cummings Valley, west of the city of Tehachapi in southern California. It is a supermax. Its overall mission is “to incarcerate and control felons, while providing the opportunity for meaningful work, training and other programs. The prison provides programs for those inmates who are willing to work and participate fully in available programs.”
CCI has 1,650 acres including Level I (“Open dormitories with a secure perimeter”) housing; Level II (“Open dormitories with secure perimeter fences and armed coverage”) housing; Level IV (“Cells, fenced or walled perimeters, electronic security, more staff and armed officers both inside and outside the installation”) housing; a Security Housing Unit (SHU, which is “the most secure area within a Level IV prison designed to provide maximum coverage”); and a Reception Center (RC) which “provides short term housing to process, classify and evaluate incoming inmates.”As of March 2012, the facility’s total population was 4,753, or 170.8 percent of its design capacity of 2,783.
The prison and surrounding Cumming Valley are estimated to have taken in a couple thousand refugees. Since the prison itself was already overcrowded space inside the wall is limited. Inmates in the Reception Center were moved to other facilities and the RC is used for survivors. Other survivors camp in their cars or tents inside the secure perimeter. And others have disperses into the valley. The inmates have been on lockdown for almost two months and are reportedly given barely enough food and water to survive.
After the election of Mayor Verne Wiedeman, Level I and Level II inmates could be seen performing work outside but within the fenced perimeters. They worked alternate days under heavy guard. They appeared to be preparing the grounds for farming. Also Level I inmate chain gangs began working outside the compound fence but still within the fenced CCI perimeter. They seemed to be burning trash and digging pits. Farmers and ranchers are encouraged to apply for a Level I inmate on work release. The inmate would remain shackled but otherwise free to perform any task given to them by their civilian sponsor.