California Correctional Institution

California Correctional Institution

Infobox Prison
prison_name = California Correctional Institution (CCI) View]
location = Tehachapi, California, United States
coordinates = coord|35.111|-118.569
status = Operational
classification = minimum to maximum
capacity = 2,785 (but houses 5,806 as of September 2007)
opened = 1954 (original California Institution for Women existed on same site 1932-1952)
closed =
managed_by = California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
director = William Sullivan, Warden

California Correctional Institution (CCI) is a California state prison located in Cummings Valley, west of the city of Tehachapi, Kern County, which is in southern California. CCI is sometimes referred to as "Tehachapi prison" or "Tehachapi."Pepper, Art, and Laurie Pepper. "Straight Life: The Story of Art Pepper". Updated ed. New York: Da Capo Press, 1994. ISBN 0306805588] [Warden Named to State Prison - Official to Take Over Friday in Lancaster. "Daily News of Los Angeles", August 25, 1994.] It should not be confused with California Correctional Center which is in northern California.

Current facility

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."California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. [ California Correctional Center (CCI).] Accessed 12 Nov 2007.] California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. [ California's Correctional Facilities.] 15 Oct 2007.] As of Fiscal Year 2006/2007, CCI had 2,003 staff and an annual budget of $168 million. As of September 2007, it had a design capacity of 2,785 but a total institution population of 5,806, for an occupancy rate of 208.5 percent.California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. [ Monthly Report of Population as of Midnight September 30, 2007.] ]


The original California Institution for Women, the first women’s facility in California, opened on the site of what is now CCI in 1932. [Bosquet, Jean. Rites open new woman's prison. "Los Angeles Times", May 23, 1932.] It was sometimes referred to as "Tehachapi," as in the 1940s films "Maltese Falcon" [Barrett, Larry. [ Cummings Valley, Tehachapi.] ] and "Double Indemnity". [Dirks, Tim. [ Review of Double Indemnity (1944).] Greatest Films at, accessed 15 Nov 2007.] The institution was "run for many years independently from the correctional system for men" but beginning in 1944 was gradually brought under the control of the California Department of Corrections. [Kruttschnitt, Candace, and Rosemary Gartner. "Marking Time in the Golden State: Women's Imprisonment in California". New York : Cambridge University Press, 2005. ISBN 0521532655] After the Kern County earthquake of July 21, 1952, "made the brick dormitories unsafe," the institution was closed and the 417 prisoners were sent to the new California Institution for Women in Corona. [Tehachapi's inmates will go to Corona. "Los Angeles Times", July 24, 1952.]

The prison was rebuilt and reopened in 1954 as CCI, an all-men's prison. In 1985-1986, maximum and medium security facilities were added to it. The Southern Maximum Security Complex at Tehachapi was "touted as the most advanced in the country," but was also "called a 'white elephant' and a 'Cadillac' because it took so long to build and cost so much." [Mecoy, Laura. Troubles With Prison Expansion. "Sacramento Bee", November 27, 1985.]

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger "directed inmate firefighters and staff from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation," including those from CCI, to help fight the October 2007 California wildfires. [ [ Gov. Schwarzenegger Directs CDCR to Utilize Inmate Fire Crews in Response to Major Wildfires.] Press release, 22 Oct 2007.]

Infamous Inmates

* Art Pepper did time at CCI in 1964-1965.
* Lyle Menendez was sent to CCI in September 1996 to serve a life term without the possibility of parole [Menendez Brothers Put in Separate Prisons. "San Jose Mercury News", September 11, 1996.] ; however, as of 2003 he was in Mule Creek State Prison. [Menendez weds in prison. "Ventura County Star", November 23, 2003.]
* Rafael Pérez was transferred from the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood to CCI in July 2001 [Former officer moved to prison. "Ventura County Star", July 14, 2001.] ; later that month he was released from CCI and paroled. [Perez Freed From Prison - Parole: Rampart Figure Leaves Tehachapi for Undisclosed Location. "Press-Telegram" (Long Beach, CA), July 25, 2001.]


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