Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

By Linda Sutter – January 13, 2023

Facility C is expected to deactivate this winter at Pelican Bay State Prison. The reasons why doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out. The Prison was built on a swamp and has endless repairs that are too costly. Transportation of Inmates from one institution to PBSP, or from PBSP to another institution are costly and the Medical cost to transport inmates to hospitals in Eureka, Medford, and other places. Costly!

Problem is, what will be the long term prognosis of Pelican Bay and how will that affect this area.

Let’s start with Real Estate.

If the prison is completely shut down, staff will be forced to move to other areas of the state and of course leaving their homes up for sale. The sales will bust. Property prices will go down due to excessive houses on the market.

Think blight is bad now? People already go to Brookings, Oregon to shop and buy gas. The folks who work at the prison are probably the only ones supporting the local grocery stores, such as Safeway.

But there is a positive side. Currently, the average wage earner in Del Norte County is $24,000 annually, which does not justify why City and County Department heads are making nearly $200,000.00 per year. Why would the city and county pay such outlandish wages when the median wage is $24,000? Hopefully that would cease if the Prison finally closes their doors.

The other up swing from an empty prison is maybe the County could move their jail to house their inmates in a closed PBSP. After all, according to a document submitted to the Board of Supervisors in September 2022, 15,507 people were jailed in Del Norte County Jail in 2020.

  1. Good point but min wage @ 15 hr x 2000 hrs. /Year is 30 k / yr.
    So how could it be 24 k a year unless we account for migrant farm workers etc Perhaps many jobs are part time ?
    Bad people cost money. Make it a work camp where the debt is paid in labor. Yes I can see the steam coming out of non taxpayers ears now….that’s just unfashionable!
    Maybe they could reduce labor costs for the grade ? Worked in Cool Hand….

    1. You have neglected to include the deductions on $30 k per year which for most will result in more like $24 k net per year. Can’t forget the government’s share.

  2. One can go to website “Transparent California” and see the Del Norte County salaries. I don’t see how we can afford these salaries. And apparently they are still handing out raises, e.g., Director of Health and Human Services, who makes almost $350,000 in Total Pay and Benefits in 2021. When property values go down will our Property Tax? Silly question. Where is the money going to come from for these obscene salaries. And how can one making $24,000 a year afford a place when rent is so high? This will be interesting. Do you think the almighty tourist will save us?

  3. Great article, Linda. I know of several correctional officers and staff that live in Brookings and who in their right mind would shop in Crescent City? I think the negatives far outweigh the positives.
    Seems to me the best place to build prisons in California is out in the desert. Great place to locate homeless camps, too!
    Of course we don’t want to terminate prison employees, I would suggest relocation and moving expenses paid. Many good folks are fleeing to other states anyway!

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