Prison Town Economics 101: Pelican Bay (Crescent City, CA)

Pelican Bay State Prison, looking west, taken ...

Image via Wikipedia

With prisoners in Pelican Bay willing to die rather than endure what is being done to them in the name of “the People of California”, we should pause to consider some basic math.  The following example is a broad illustration only:

Pelican Bay State Penitentiary cages 3,128 people (131% of its capacity).

The PBSP staff is 1,627.  Over one in employee for every two prisoners.

The 2010 Census Population for Crescent City, CA is 7,643.  The Census counts prisoners as “residents” where their cage is, despite national efforts to end the practice.  Legislation in California is hung up over myths about federal dollars being allocated.  Given the current practice, 41% of Crescent City is behind bars.

4,515 Crescent City residents are not behind bars.  If the 1,627 prison employees lived close to work, then only 2,888 residents do not spend their day at this prison.  If the average employee has just one family member drawing support from the prison paycheck, this leaves a mere 1,261 residents of Crescent City who are not staked to the prison.  (*It is likely that the employees are spread amongst surrounding towns).

Pelican Bay is in its 22nd year of operation, and has a budget over $180 million this year.  Over $2 Billion has been funneled from taxpayers to the people who profit form cages… on this one small piece of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.  A place where the imprisoned would rather die than be subjected to the current “corrections and rehabilitation.”


About Bruce Reilly

Bruce Reilly is the Deputy Director of Voice of the Ex-Offender in New Orleans, LA. He is a graduate of Tulane Law School and author of NewJack's Guide to the Big House. Much of his writing can be found on
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1 Response to Prison Town Economics 101: Pelican Bay (Crescent City, CA)

  1. Pingback: Unprison 2011-2013 Index | unprison

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