History Of Tehachapi Prison In California

Are you fascinated by prison history? Do you want to learn more about Tehachapi Prison in California? Read our guide to get interesting information and facts…

The history of  Tehachapi Prison in California dates back to the year 1932. This correctional facility was originally designated as the California Institute for Women, and was the first prison for women in California at the time. In the earliest history the prison was not controlled by the California Department Of Corrections, but was instead independently run. From 1932 to 1952 the original Tehachapi Prison was the source of a lot of controversy. Many critics compared the prison to a laboratory, with the inmates being the lab rats. A number of programs were tried, including hard work, recreation, tough love, and further education. Some criticized the prison for being soft on criminals, even if these inmates were women.

The California Department Of Corrections

In the year 1944, the Tehachapi Prison was put under the oversight of the California Department of Corrections, which was considered a correctional system for men. During this part of history the institute was still used for female inmates. All of this changed on July 21, in the year 1952, when the Kern County earthquake hit the area. This natural disaster caused extensive damage to the brick dormitories at Tehachapi Prison, and these buildings were declared unsafe. This resulted in the prison being closed. At the time there were four hundred and seventeen inmates still being housed at the institution. All of them were transferred to the newly created California Institute for Women, located in Corona.

The New Prison

The Tehachapi Prison in California did not stay closed for long in the history of the prison. From 1952 until 1954 the institution was being rebuilt, and when it opened again it was used for male prisoners. The new name of the prison was the California Correctional Institute. At first this location was only used for minimum security prisoners, but in the years 1985 and 1986 the state added both a medium security facility and a maximum security facility here. The Southern Maximum Security Complex was finally finished in 1986, but it received much criticism because of the costs and building delays involved. Even these critics do admit that when it was built this complex was the most secure and advanced one possible.

Programs And Inmates

Through the history of Tehachapi Prison in California there have been many programs intended to help the inmates, and this facility has seen a fair share of famous inmates come and go as well. Tehachapi Prison currently has the ability to house all security levels, and includes a segregated housing unit as well for high risk prisoners. Inmates here have the ability to take part in work programs, education classes, and vocational opportunities.

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