Staff, visitors mark 25 years of service for Wasco
Wasco State Prison-Reception Center (WSP-RC) held a celebration on May 20 to mark 25 years of service. Staff and their families, as well as the local citizens, took part in the festivities.
Acting Warden Felix M. Vasquez welcomed visitors as the event opened with the singing of the National Anthem by WSP-RC’s own Nicola Frudden. Then, WSP-RC’s Honor Guard presented the colors. The event also featured demonstrations by the Kern County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit, CDCR Crisis Response Team, CDCR K-9 Team and the CDCR Transportation Unit. There were also 30 event booths featuring food vendors, private business vendors and WSP-RC information booths.
Sgt. Michelle Miller worked closely with Warden Vasquez and other staff to make this a successful event.
The Wasco Car Club had a variety of cars on display. Lastly, the celebration ended with WSP-RC’s Regina Walker singing “America the Beautiful.”
Wasco: 25 years by the numbers
The facility opened in February 1991, covering 634 acres. It has an annual operating budget of approximately $164 million and is designed to house 3,000 inmates. As of May 2016, the incarcerated population is 4,997, with over 1,500 staff and volunteers employed at the prison.
The first of two Reception Centers (RC) built in Kern County, Waco’s primary mission is to provide short-term housing necessary to process, classify and evaluate new arrivals. The physical and mental evaluation helps determine security level, program requirements and appropriate institutional placement.
A 1,000-bed medium custody facility houses general population who help support and maintain the reception center.
Meanwhile, a 200-bed minimum custody facility provides support the work areas outside of the perimeter fence.
Incarcerated work incentive employment options include:
- institutional maintenance
- landscaping services
- food services
- vehicle maintenance
- janitorial support
- inmate clerks
- education tutors
- Prison Industry Authority laundry, farm enterprise and health care facility maintenance.
The intake process
WSP-RC processing requires a thorough medical evaluation of the population intake.
To meet the varied requirements of this diverse population, a 16-bed Correctional Treatment Center is available (with an additional safety and observation cell) designed to provide care for the population who do not require general acute care services, but require professionally supervised health care beyond what is normally provided in the community on an outpatient basis.
After arriving at the RC, inmates are screened for medical issues. Within 72 hours, all inmates receive an initial assessment in diagnostics to identify mental health issues or developmental disabilities.
WSP-RC’s mental health services program has approximately 1,000 incarcerated patients.
In addition to institution operations, WSP-RC manages an off-site Medical Guarding Unit (MGU) at Mercy Hospital in Bakersfield.
The MGU has 37 regularly scheduled custodial staff, and supports up to 58 inmate-patient hospital beds and 11 intensive care unit beds. In all, 14 CDCR institutions can utilize the MGU.
Through CDCR’s Division of Rehabilitative Programs, WSP-RC also manages a Male Community Reentry Program (MCRP).
The program provides or arranges links to community-based rehabilitative services assisting with:
- substance use disorders
- mental health care
- medical care
- family reunification
- social support
The MCRP helps participants successfully reenter the community from prison and reduce recidivism.
This is a voluntary program for CDCR inmates who have approximately 120 days left to serve.
By Lt. Patrick Salgado, Wasco State Prison-Reception Center.