What Would the End of Mass Incarceration Mean for Prison Towns?

Veterans Memorial Hall
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Zocalo Public Square

After generations of opening prisons and increasing prison populations, the state government is planning to close several institutions. But many state prisons are in struggling rural communities dependent on these facilities’ jobs and health care infrastructure. The Newsom administration’s intention to close the California Correctional Center in Susanville this year has sparked fears that shutting the prison could damage the Lassen County community. How do the economies and civic spheres of our prison towns really work? What is the relationship between these institutions and their communities? And what assistance, if any, should the state provide to towns that lose their prisons?