Out With Mass Incarceration and in With Mass Commerce

Can California Call It Progress When Rural Prisons Are Replaced With Retail Warehouses?

As California starts closing prisons, what might open in their place?

I glimpsed one answer to that question while driving to Deuel Vocational Institution, between the San Joaquin County cities of Tracy and Manteca. The demise of Deuel, which shuts at the end of September, is more than just the first closure of a state-owned prison in a generation. It also opens a prison window on the future of our landscapes, and on the peculiar predations of California progress.

Heeding my phone’s directions from Oakland, I exited I-205 at Tracy and followed …