Thursday, June 2, 2011

Closing down the prison

I pulled boy out of school today and we took a drive up to Ione to witness the closing of Preston Youth Correctional Facility.  No, I never was there either as an employee or a ward!  Work asked me to accompany one of our contractors to the closing so I was ordered to go.  It was a bit of history worth witnessing, they were giving tours, free lunch, and I got paid to be there. 

Boy wasn't happy about being pulled out of school the second to last day of school.  But then again he's 8 and loves his teacher.  Girl, who's being home schooled, is going to get to write a report about our day.

I've taken them to the Preston Castle cemetery before to show them the graves of the boys who didn't survive, mainly due to illness but some to accidents and one was shot in an escape attempt.  We've never been in the castle and there were tours of that as well.  It was the first youth prison in the state.  They initially sent wayward boys to San Quentin and Folsom prisons and in the 1890 started construction on a place of their own.  It opened in 1894 and was used until new, modern buildings were put into place in the 60s. 

When we got there we were served lunch, then we had to sign up for the tour.  I thought to myself that concealed weapons would not be allowed since there were still inmates present.  I talked to someone in uniform who was checking IDs and told him I had a permit and was carrying a weapon and wanted to know what to do about it.  He ushered me into the building to get a locker.  I walked into a 5X10 hallway that you had to be buzzed in to open the door at either end.  On one side of the hall was some lockers and the other side was a counter with bullet proof glass.  The officer yelled "weapon in the hole!"  So much for keeping it concealed.  I was handed a key and put the gun into the locker.  I was told not to lose the key or I wouldn't get the gun back!  Not a problem. 

The tour included the new (50 year old) brick buildings, including the chapel, auditorium, medical building, library, kitchen, and dorm.  All in all it was interesting.  There were still 13 wards (inmates) left at Preston.  The rest had already been moved but this group was kept back so they could demonstrate how they would be used on a fire line.  They got out of their crew vehicle and got a tool or a backpack water pump and started attacking a mock roadside fire.  It was a nice demonstration for those who've never seen a crew at work. 

After this tour we walked up to the castle and got to roam through the basement, first, and second floors.  The third and fourth floors were closed due to needing repairs.  They do offer tours on weekends that cost a little money and would have been more informative for me.  The kids had a great time exploring and were better off without the tour. 

It was a good day.  I didn't even take a new way home because I had the grandkids with me.  I did run into a situation with the weapon, which worked out fine.  At least there was a place to lock the gun up before going in.  I don't have a gun locker in my truck.  I do have one at home sitting in a closet collecting dust.  A friend of mine gave it to me when he retired and they took the gun locker out of his work vehicle.  Perhaps I should put one in mine.  I guess I did do something to prep today.  I realized that I need the gun locker in the truck. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the reminders. Drove by the prison years ago wondering what it was. Did some research and found out. It's kind of impressive in the middle of almost nowhere.

    And thank you for the "mobile" gun safe reminder.That is something not thought of all the time.

    Yesterday's reminder to keep up with the stowed items was good also.