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Penal Code Section 919(b) requires the Grand Jury to inquire into the conditions and management of all public prisons within the county.


Preston Youth Correctional Facility is a California Youth Authority facility housing youthful offenders. Ward population in the facility varies between 725 and 775.


The 1999-2000 Amador County Grand Jury visited the facility. While conducting this visit informal interviews were conducted.


  1. Preston Youth Correctional Facility is an all-male facility.
  2. Age range of the wards is 14-24 (mean age, 17 years, 8 months).
  3. The facility has a fully accredited high school.
  4. The facility has had an ongoing problem with their embedded or underground communications system. This system, due to its age, frequently fails at various locations. These failures interrupt telephone, personal alarm and fire alarm systems. The present system is not of adequate size to allow upgrades for fiber-optic networking.
  5. In 1999, the facility added numerous additional surveillance cameras to the perimeter of the facility.


  1. No management problems were observed. All staff members appear to be conscientious in the performance of their duties. These staff members provide security and counseling to the wards.
  2. The embedded or underground communications system is so old that it is no longer reliable. Whenever the system goes down, it presents the potential of safety concerns for staff as well as wards since telephone communications, personal alarm communications and the fire alarm communications can be disrupted.


  1. It is recommended that a new embedded communications system be installed, to include both fiber optics and a copper voice cable.
  2. The fiber-optics system should be used for computer networking systems, and the copper voice cable should be used for sound, personnel alarm, telephone and fire alarm systems.

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