MIRA MESA — “Let’s face it, if a kid is raised in Mira Mesa, we pretty much know where he’ll end up later in life,” were powerful words uttered by San Diego Mayor Calvin Malone at this morning’s ribbon-cutting ceremony commencing the opening of a new prison built adjacent to Mira Mesa High School.
“It was a tough choice deciding what to do with the $8 million in government stimulus money we received, but in the end we thought a new prison would be more practical than fixing up the school or buying textbooks,” Malone added.
The new 12,000 square foot maximum security juvenile correctional facility can house as many as 2,300 teenagers at one time.
Hundreds of people turned out to celebrate the event, including the Mira Mesa High School Mascot, Phozzy the Pho.
Mira Mesa Police Chief Carl Feldman expressed his enthusiasm for the prison at the event.
“It’s going to be great to not have to drive these Mira Mesa kids all the way downtown after arresting them,” said Feldman. “The savings on gas alone justifies the cost of the facility.”
The small percentage of students who aren’t incarcerated by senior year will have the option of transferring directly to the prison after graduation thanks to a new government-sponsored program.
Mira Mesa High Vice-Principle Stephanie Lauson said, “We’re extremely delighted to know that every one of our students has the option of going directly to prison.”
Prison security guards have already began an on-campus recruitment campaign by talking to kids about the benefits of prison during their lunch break.
The prison will offer both a 4-year program as well as an accelerated 2-year program for kids who are really eager to turn their lives around.
Though the proximity of the prison is convenient for visits, some Mira Mesa parents have higher aspirations for their kids.
Jill Swanson has been reading dozens of different prison brochures for the last several weeks on behalf of her son Zachery, who at the age of 16, already has two strikes.
“We want to pick out the best prison for our son,” said Swanson. “We’ve had several offers so far but we don’t want to rush into an important decision like this one. These days prisons are very eager to earn extra taxpayer dollars for housing our kids, so we feel we can be choosy.”