Press Release

Senator Padilla Introduces Legislation to Create Prison Redevelopment Commission

SACRAMENTO – Senator Steve Padilla (D-San Diego) announced this week that he introduced Senate Bill 418, a bill to establish the California Prison Redevelopment Commission. The Commission would explore creative methods of repurposing closed prisons into new ways to serve communities throughout California.  The legislation is patterned from a commission formed by New York Governor Kathy Hochul, which was led by Darren Walker, the President of the Ford Foundation.  Like California, New York is in the process of closing prisons, many of which are in rural communities.  New York’s Prison Redevelopment Commission recently issued a 140 page report, including a series of short and long-term recommendations to successfully redevelop shuttered prisons and spur economic development in the communities surrounding those facilities.

SB 418 would create a panel comprised of 15 members with expertise in economic development along-side state and local representatives focused on developing recommendations on turning closed prisons into community assets.  Senate Bill 418 would have the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) lead the commission while including representatives from the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Department of Finance, the Department of General Services, and State Parks as well as economic development experts, and local community representatives. The Commission’s directive would be to develop a plan of action to convert empty prisons, many of which were job centers in their rural communities, into opportunities for communities to thrive. The Commission would be required to develop and deliver the report to the Legislature by August 1, 2024.

“California’s rural communities suffer from chronic underinvestment and we need to think carefully on how to convert former prisons in those communities into economic assets,” said Senator Padilla. “Having economic development experts alongside community and state leaders carefully analyze redevelopment options will provide an important road map for replacing prisons with economic opportunity and investment in rural communities.”

Senator Padilla’s district includes the Chuckawalla Valley State Prison, which the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has marked for closure, as well as four other correctional facilities – Calipatria State Prison, Centinela State Prison, Ironwood State Prison, and the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility.


Steve Padilla represents the 18th Senate District, which includes the communities of Chula Vista, the Coachella Valley, Imperial Beach, the Imperial Valley, National City, and San Diego. Prior to his election to the Senate in 2022, Senator Padilla was the first person of color ever elected to city office in Chula Vista, the first Latino Mayor, and the first openly LGBT person to serve or be elected to city office. Website of Senator Steve Padilla: