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Folsom Women's Prison to House Low Risk Inmates

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SACRAMENTO - The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) announced today that the last female inmate has been moved out of Valley State Prison (VSP) in Chowchilla, formerly known as Valley State Prison for Women, completing its transformation into an all-male institution.

Also today, CDCR formally opened a new 403-bed Folsom Women's Facility (FWF) to house low-risk female inmates after converting a former substance abuse treatment facility for parole violators.  The women's facility, adjacent to Folsom State Prison and California State Prison-Sacramento, is expected to receive its first inmates next week but will not reach its full population until spring, 2013.

"The Folsom Women's Facility represents modern thinking about how to help female inmates turn their lives around by providing programming designed specifically to help women prepare to re-enter society and make the transition from an inmate to being a constructive citizen," CDCR Undersecretary Terri McDonald said.  "This demonstrates CDCR's commitment to rehabilitate while making efficient use of existing facilities."

Since October 2012, CDCR has been transitioning females out of the 1,980-bed VSP while moving low-security male inmates into the institution. Male and female inmates were separated during the entire transition.

The FWF will offer rehabilitative and educational programming to help female inmates avoid the revolving door of incarceration. Programs include adult basic education, anger management, family reunification, substance abuse and computer literacy.

The Valley State Prison conversion began after the number of female inmates was reduced by 3,346 (36 percent) since October 2011, when low level offenders began serving sentences in county jails instead of state prison, as required by the 2011 Public Safety Realignment Act.  Generally, a higher percentage of females are convicted of crimes categorized by the Penal Code as "non-serious", "non-violent" or "non sexual."

CDCR currently houses 5,833 female inmates at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla and the California Institution for Women in Chino, and 113,359 males in 31 institutions.