California Men’s Colony modified lockdown ends after weeklong contraband search

The California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo
The California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo The Tribune

The California Men’s Colony ended its nearly weeklong “modified program” at 11 a.m. Tuesday, after officials discontinued a search for contraband items.

CMC inmates had been allowed limited movement, and only with a staff escort, since about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, said Lt. Monica Ayon, a CMC spokeswoman.

Staff at the facility, which is on Highway 1 just outside San Luis Obispo, on Wednesday received an anonymous tip that inmates allowed outside on fire crews had allegedly brought contraband into CMC, Ayon said.

Work programs, educational classes and visits were canceled for the entire facility for about a week, Ayon said. Inmates were escorted to medical appointments and to the dining hall for meals, Ayon said, but other programming was suspended while staff searched for the contraband.

A modified program is different from a full lockdown because inmates are allowed limited movement, Ayon said. A lockdown requires inmates to stay in their cells or dorms at all times and their meals are brought to them.

Ayon declined to say what items staff were looking for, but said they searched the entire facility. The U.S. Coast Guard and Department of Fish and Wildlife assisted by supplying search dogs.

The contraband was never located, so Ayon could not say whether the items were ever present in the facility, but she said CMC officials felt inmates could “return to normal programming.”

Although isolated parts of CMC have followed modified programming protocol for at least a week, Ayon said she had never seen activities suspended throughout the entire facility for this long.