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COVID-Negative Inmates Transferring Into Former California Youth Authority Facility in Norwalk


california youth authority


December 8, 2020

Due to the pandemic, the state has exercised its “emergency powers” and initiated this action in Norwalk

Norwalk, CA – Representatives of the Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk have informed City officials that due to a recent need for “surge space” in some of their other facilities, forty-three female inmates who have recently tested COVID-negative will be transferred to the annex, formerly known as the California Youth Authority facility in Norwalk.

Back in September, City administration met with representatives of the Metropolitan State Hospital and the Department of State Hospitals to discuss the state’s plan to re-open the facility to house COVID-negative patients. This action was authorized by Governor Newsom’s declaration of emergency powers due to the national pandemic and initiated by the Department of State Hospitals.

On September 10, 2020, the Department of State Hospital representatives along with Mayor Jennifer Perez presided over a teleconference “town hall” meeting to inform residents of the state’s intent. On September 16th, a letter with details of the presentation were sent to residents. On October 8th, a second “town hall” meeting was conducted. At that time, extensive renovations and safety measures were put in place to house patients should the need arise. However, yesterday afternoon, representatives from the Metropolitan State Hospital informed city administration of the need to transfer the patients into the facility.

Due to the pandemic, these actions by the state have had far reaching effects on residents. Norwalk City officials have made several attempts to ensure that residents were not adversely affected by these unprecedented decisions initiated by the state and county.

In April, the City Council voted unanimously to impose a temporary ban to prevent motel conversions for temporarily housing homeless residents as part of Project Roomkey without prior city approval.

In July, the City Council unanimously passed an emergency ordinance that required any public agency to consult with the City prior to placing a homeless or COVID-19 facility in Norwalk.

In October, in response to the County’s efforts to purchase Motel 6 on Rosecrans Avenue, the City informed County officials regarding the negative impact on Norwalk resources and recommended the County cease their efforts in purchasing the motel for that purpose.

City officials were informed that inmates being transferred into the facility have recently tested negative for COVID and have passed a background check. Both the local sheriff’s department and metro police will be responsible for monitoring the facility.

Residents interested in obtaining more information regarding the use of the former “California Youth Authority” facility may contact Dr. Michael W. Barsom, Executive Director at the Metropolitan State Hospital, at (562) 863-7011.