The Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla celebrated its 25th anniversary on Thursday with a special ‘thank you’ to staff who helped open the prison.
Forty-four staff members were recognized for their commitment to their job. Warden Deborah Johnson also thanked the employees’ families for their patience over the years.
The prison, described by Johnson as a city within a city, opened Oct. 1, 1990. Since then the institution has added greatly to the city, she said, noting a boost in jobs and community engagement. The facility is the largest women’s prison in the state, housing more than 3,000 inmates and employing more than 1,000 people, according to the prison’s website.
“There is no way that I could this job by myself,” she said during an opening ceremony. “You need to have a good team, and I have a great team.”
Randolph Bliss, a Merced resident and one of the employees recognized for his 25 years of service, said the prison has undergone major transformations for the better.
The facility went from a “military style” environment to one that he described as more “business style.”
“This is a good place to work,” he said.
The anniversary ceremony was followed by the annual Family Night event, with an auto show, performances and dinner, as well as a Breast Cancer Awareness event. Prison tours were also available every 15 minutes.
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