CHOWCHILLA — California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials said Wednesday that the last female inmate had been moved out of Valley State Prison in Chowchilla, formerly known as Valley State Prison for Women.
The move completes the prison's transformation into an all-male institution, according to the Department of Corrections.
The 1,980-bed prison began taking low-security male inmates and transferring out dozens of women last fall, when a judge cleared the way for the conversion project to move forward.
The city of Chowchilla last year unsuccessfully tried to block the conversion with a lawsuit after prison officials declined to do an impact study.
On Wednesday, corrections officials also formally opened a new 403-bed Folsom Women's Facility to house low-risk female inmates by converting a former substance abuse treatment facility for parole violators.
The women's facility, adjacent to Folsom State Prison and California State Prison-Sacramento is expected to receive its first inmates next week but will not reach its full population until spring 2013, according to the Department of Corrections.
The Valley State Prison conversion began after the number of female inmates statewide was reduced by 3,346, or 36 percent, in October 2011. That's when low-level offenders began serving sentences in county jails instead of state prison, as required by Assembly Bill 109, the state's prison realignment law.
The department houses 5,833 female inmates at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla and the California Institution for Women in Chino, and 113,359 males in 31 institutions.