High Desert State Prison (California)

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High Desert State Prison (HDSP)
Seal of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.png
Aerial View
LocationSusanville, California
Coordinates40°24′30″N 120°30′50″W / 40.4084°N 120.5139°W / 40.4084; -120.5139Coordinates: 40°24′30″N 120°30′50″W / 40.4084°N 120.5139°W / 40.4084; -120.5139
Security classMaximum-Supermax
Population1,823 (78.4% capacity) (as of July 31, 2022[1])
OpenedAugust 1995
Managed byCalifornia Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
WardenFred Foulk

High Desert State Prison (HDSP) is a high-security state prison that houses level IV inmates located in Leavitt, Lassen County, California.[2][3] Opened in 1995, it has a capacity of 2,324 persons.

As of July 31, 2022, High Desert was incarcerating people at 78.4% of its design capacity, with 1,823 occupants.[1]

Also located in Lassen County is the state California Correctional Center, a minimum-security prison. A third prison facility, the Federal Correctional Institution, Herlong, is also located within Lassen County, California. Half the adult population of nearby Susanville works at these prisons. The prisons and their effects on the community, including as a source of much needed jobs, were explored in the documentary, Prison Town, USA (2007), aired on PBS.[4]


Location of Susanville within Lassen County, and Lassen County within California

In late 2015 the state Office of the Inspector General completed a six-month investigation into conditions at the prison, after complaints of officer misconduct and prisoner abuse, and issued its report, calling for changes at the facility. Although there are buildings to house certain inmates in protective custody, such as sex offenders, officers put other prisoners near them. The prison has had a rapid turnover in top management for nearly a decade, with seven wardens in eight years. In their report investigators wrote there was a "perception of insularity and indifference to inmates" at High Desert, exacerbated by its remoteness and "a labor organization that opposes oversight to the point of actively discouraging members from coming forward with information that could … adversely affect another officer."[5]

Notable inmates[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. ^ "Susanville city, California Archived 2012-10-20 at archive.today." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on September 25, 2011.
  3. ^ "High Desert State Prison." California Department of Corrections. Retrieved on September 25, 2011. "475-750 Rice Canyon Rd. Susanville, CA"
  4. ^ "Prison Town, USA". Making Contact. Season 11. Episode 31. 2008-07-30. {{cite episode}}: External link in |series= (help)
  5. ^ "State investigators cite culture of abuse, racism by High Desert State Prison guards", Paige St. John, LA Times, 16 December 2015; accessed 26 June 2016
  6. ^ Fountain, Matt (December 28, 2021). "22 years later, Arroyo Grande Teen's Family Still has Received No Money From Satanic Killers". Noozhawk.
  7. ^ https://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/crime/article251908193.html[bare URL]
  8. ^ "CDCR Public Inmate Locator Disclaimer".

External links[edit]