City of Susanville Moves Forward with Lawsuit, State May Face Prison Closure Lawsuit

The Newsom administration could soon be facing a lawsuit over its decision to close a prison in rural Lassen County, which employs more than a quarter of the workforce in the city of Susanville.

Just days after the prison’s June 30, 2022, closure date was announced, for-sale signs began popping up throughout the county.

Susanville’s city council on Thursday authorized the city lawyer to launch a lawsuit against California, arguing that if the state wants to close prisons in response to a dwindling inmate population, it should prioritize those an independent analyst determined to have high estimated repair and/or operational costs relative to their inmate capacity. The Susanville prison was not included on that list but some high-profile facilities, like San Quentin State Prison, were.

Dan Newton, Susanvilles interim city administrator said: It doesn’t make sense to us. We need to understand why this is happening. It’s going to have such a profound impact on our community and our city.