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Authority for Review

Grand Jury jurisdiction provided by Penal Code Section 919(b).


Mandatory annual review of operations.

Method of Review

Interview with Warden
Interviews with staff members
Interviews with inmates
On-site visit


Mule Creek State Prison is an all male primarily medium to high security facility operated by the California Department of Corrections on Highway 104 in Ione.

The prison population of approximately 3600 is managed by a staff of 926. Over 40% of the staff resides within the county. The inmate population is 212% of the designed capacity.

Prisoners are assigned a security rating level of 1 to 4. Level 1 represents the minimum security risk and higher ratings indicate higher risk prisoners. Good or bad behavior in prison can result in a Level change.

Level 1 prisoners are housed in a dorm-like setting. The fenced Level 1 housing is outside of the main security perimeter fence. These prisoners are used in supervised work crews to perform various services outside the prison.

Work crews perform tasks for public agencies within the county. They are also used to assist in disaster situations such as the 1997 floods.

Some Level 2 prisoners are housed in dorms within the main security perimeter. The dorms were created by converting gymnasiums to house 160 inmates in double bunks, a move necessitated by the increase in population beyond the original plan. Some of these inmates are serving life terms.

The remainder of the inmates reside in housing units with two levels of cells arranged in a semicircular layout. Each housing unit has a double interlocking door operated from the control room for the unit. The control room is centrally located and affords a full view of all cells and open areas in the unit. Cell doors are locked and unlocked from the control room which is always manned by an armed correctional officer.

Educational programs and vocational training are offered on-site. These include high school diploma and GED preparation courses. Courses in computer science and literacy are a part of the scholastic program.

The prison infirmary has 12 beds, four of which are crisis beds. It is anticipated that the infirmary will become a licensed hospital by 1999. Mule Creek has a mental health program that also serves other California prisons.

The main perimeter fence is electrified. Since the installation of this fence, only two of the nine guard towers are staffed.


Mule Creek State Prison is a secure facility which benefits the County by providing local employment and the services of its work crews.



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