2800 Wright Road, Camarillo, Ca. 93010
Phone: (805) 983-1332
Total Staff (CDCR) 2017: 9
Total Staffing (CAL-FIRE/LAC) 2017: 16
Total # Inmates (as of 09/19/2017): 79
Ventura Camp was originally built in 1989, next to the California Youth Authority's Ventura Youth Correctional Facility, a "co-ed" youth conservation camp. Ventura Camp was the first, and only, co-ed fire camp in the state. There were four male fire crews, one female fire crew, and one female training crew. The camp population was approximately 110 wards. The females were housed at the institution, and the males were housed at the camp. The camp closed its doors in December 2012.
In December 2014, Ventura Conservation Camp opened its doors once again. This time the camp houses up to 110 adult male inmates. The camp is maintained collectively by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL-Fire).
All inmates are required to work and they are paid for their labor. The majority of the inmates are laborers, and they receive $1.45 per day. Skilled inmates may earn up to $2.56 per day. Skilled inmates include mechanics, clerks, cooks, plumbers, welders, carpenters, electricians, and the lead fire crew workers. While fighting fires, inmates may earn $1 per hour. Although basic preparation and firefighting is conducted at the Sierra Conservation Center by both CDCR and CAL-Fire personnel, additional work training continues at the Camp. CAL-Fire assures that the inmates are fire and emergency ready, and provides a variety of other hands-on project training.
Money earned by the inmates is placed into a trust account for their use. They may send money home or save it until they are released to parole. At the camp canteen, inmates may purchase items such as toiletries, correspondence materials, and snacks. They may also participate in hobby crafts or other leisure time activities during their off-work hours. Visiting is conducted during weekends, and families are allowed to bring a picnic lunch for the visit. There are also spiritual services provided by community volunteers. With these benefits, inmates quickly learn that life in a conservation camp is preferable to life behind the walls of a prison and, therefore, conduct themselves accordingly.