California Rehabilitation Center

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California Rehabilitation Center (CRC)
Seal of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.png
Aerial View
LocationNorco, California
Coordinates33°55′48″N 117°34′30″W / 33.930°N 117.575°W / 33.930; -117.575Coordinates: 33°55′48″N 117°34′30″W / 33.930°N 117.575°W / 33.930; -117.575
Security classMedium
Population2,322 (107.2% capacity) (as of July 31, 2022[1])
Managed byCalifornia Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
WardenGlen E. Pratt

California Rehabilitation Center (CRC) is a state prison located in Norco, Riverside County, California. The prison is sometimes referenced as "Norco" or "Norco Prison".


CRC has 98 acres (40 ha) and is located next to the Naval Surface Warfare Center Corona Division.[2][3][4][5] As of Fiscal Year 2006/2007, CRC had a total of 1,169 staff and an annual operating budget of $118 million.[2] As of September 2007, it had a design capacity of 2,314 but a total institution population of 4,271, for an occupancy rate of 184.6 percent.[6] It has Level II ("Open dormitories with secure perimeter fences and armed coverage") housing.[7]

As of July 31, 2022, CRC was incarcerating people at 107.2% of its design capacity, with 2,322 occupants.[1]

CRC is currently run as a "non-designated" facility, meaning inmates are neither SNY (Special Needs Yard) or GP (General Population). However, in California prison culture this non-designation makes this a de facto SNY yard, despite CDCR's assertion.


The best-known of CRC's programs are the "six structured Substance Abuse Programs."[2] CRC "offers the world's largest in-custody substance abuse program and is the only institution in the state to offer recovered inmates the chance to erase their felony convictions."[8] It is the "only [California] prison to house felons along with low-level, drug-addicted inmates."[9]

The drug treatment programs are thought to be associated with lower recidivism rates.[8] However, in February 2007 the California Office of the Inspector General concluded "Numerous studies show that despite an annual cost of $36 million, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s in-prison substance abuse treatment programs have little or no impact on recidivism."[10]

However, the report specifically mentioned the "Quest male civil addict program" at CRC, for which "12-month recidivism rates... were lower for non-participants than for participants."[10] The efficacy of in-prison substance abuse treatment is based on voluntary participation, segregation from the general population and participation in aftercare. When these three aspects were in place at another California prison, three year recidivism was dropped from 75% to 27%.[11]

The center runs an actors studio called the Actors' Gang program. The studio participates in Commedia dell'arte, overseen by Tim Robbins and Sabra Williams.[12]


On the site where CRC now stands, the 700-acre (280 ha) Lake Norconian Resort opened in 1929 as "the opulent playground of some of Hollywood's biggest names."[13] The Norconian hotel closed in 1940, then served as a Navy hospital between 1941 and 1957.[13] "The old Norconian and several of the newer outlying buildings were turned over to the state" to create CRC,[13] and the first inmates arrived in January 1963;[14] however, in 2002 "CRC vacated the building after learning it had to be seismically retrofitted."[3] Efforts are underway to preserve the hotel.[13]

There are persistent yet untrue stories among CRC inmates and some staff that the abandoned Norconian hotel was used for the cover artwork for the Eagles' album Hotel California. These stories claim that the front cover shot, and/or the rear cover interior shot were taken at the hotel. This has contributed to the prison's nickname of "Hotel California" among inmates throughout the California prison system.

As of 2006, although CRC was considered "one of California's best prisons," it was overcrowded, was "under nearly constant lockdown to prevent fights," had buildings "so antiquated that the electricity is shut off during rainstorms so the prisoners aren't electrocuted," had a "three-month-long waiting list" for its drug rehabilitation program, and was "short 75 guards."[15] In March 2007 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger visited the prison, citing its "huge overcrowding problem" in a speech on his "prison and county jail-building program."[16][9]

Although CRC had been "the only California prison to house both men and women," in April 2007 the women's wing of CRC was closed "to make room for more men" and because "the aging facility did not have the space needed to properly care for female inmates."[4][17][18] About 800 female CRC inmates were moved to California Institution for Women, Central California Women's Facility, and Valley State Prison for Women.[17] On April 22, 2019, a Northrop N-9M aircraft crashed in the grounds of the facility, killing its pilot. There were no ground casualties.[19]

Notable inmates[edit]

  • Archie Bryant - Currently serving a 16 year sentence for his part in the conspiracy to commit murder case of Sunny Han.
  • Tim Lambesis - Pled guilty to soliciting the murder of his wife, released on parole after serving two years of his six year sentence.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation: Monthly Report of Population As of Midnight July 31, 2022" (PDF). California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Internal Oversight and Research. July 31, 2022. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 5, 2022. Retrieved September 5, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c California Rehabilitation Center (CRC) (2009). "Mission Statement". California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Retrieved 2009-08-20.
  3. ^ a b Bennett, Andrea. Norconian Club faces rotting death. Lake Resort set to collapse without community support. Archived 2007-11-09 at the Wayback Machine Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, 6 Aug 2006.
  4. ^ a b Austin, Paige. Women to be removed from coed prison. Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA), February 26, 2007.
  5. ^ Naval Surface Warfare Center Corona Division. Base Facilities. Archived 2008-03-18 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 10 Dec 2007.
  6. ^ California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Monthly Report of Population as of Midnight September 30, 2007. Archived October 26, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. California's Correctional Facilities. Archived 2007-12-14 at the Wayback Machine 15 Oct 2007.
  8. ^ a b Frith, Stefanie. Norco prison may close by 2005. Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA), November 5, 2003.
  9. ^ a b Austin, Paige. State's Crowded Prisons: Schwarzenegger Tours Norco Lockup. Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA), March 7, 2007.
  10. ^ a b Office of the Inspector General, State of California. Special Review Into In-Prison Substance Abuse Programs Managed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Archived 2007-09-13 at the Wayback Machine February 2007.
  11. ^ Special Review Into In-Prison Substance Abuse Programs Managed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Archived 2007-09-13 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ Lee, Chris (2010-09-18). "Theater behind bars helps prisoners know themselves better". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 September 2010.
  13. ^ a b c d Rasmussen, Cecilia. Fans seek to preserve Riverside County's Norconian Resort. Los Angeles Times, October 14, 2007.
  14. ^ First Dope Addicts to Arrive at Norco. Los Angeles Times, January 6, 1963.
  15. ^ Pomfret, John. California's Crisis In Prison Systems A Threat to Public. Longer Sentences and Less Emphasis On Rehabilitation Create Problems. Washington Post, June 11, 2006.
  16. ^ State of California, Office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Gov. Schwarzenegger Tours Overcrowded State Prison in Norco. Archived 2008-10-26 at the Wayback Machine 06 Mar 2007.
  17. ^ a b Alhajal, Khalil, and Dan Lee. Remodel: Facility Will Hold 700 Male Prisoners. Norco prison relocates all female inmates. State hopes transfer will ease crowding. Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA), June 30, 2007.
  18. ^ Schultz, E.J. Female inmates: Jammed behind bars? Chowchilla lockups are at more than double their capacity, provoking health concerns. Archived 2007-05-28 at The Sacramento Bee, July 9, 2007.
  19. ^ "Fatal Plane Crash in Southern California Prison Yard". US News. April 22, 2019. Retrieved April 23, 2019.

External links[edit]