“There was no way I could support the package without making sure my constituents were protected,” said Calderon, regarding AB 900, the prison reform bill. “For so many years, Nelles was home to some of the most dangerous juvenile offenders in the state, so nobody can say this is a NIMBY issue,” said Calderon. “It is time we let Whittier convert this property into businesses, homes, parks and places where families can live, shop and play.” Calderon also said that he plans to discuss Nelles in a meeting next week with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The state closed Nelles in 2004 after operating it as a prison for 113 years. It was scheduled to be sold in July 2006. The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation stopped the sale, saying the state might need the property. The administration has considered converting Nelles into a re-entry facility where parole violators would receive intensive rehabilitation services in communities where they would likely be released. Whittier City Manager Steve Helvey praised Calderon’s efforts to keep Nelles from being reopened or converted into an adult prison. “Sen. Calderon has taken this on,” Helvey said. “He doesn’t need to be urged. He just truly thinks this is the right thing to do.” [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3022160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “I find that highly encouraging,” Newcomer said. “It’s wonderful news.” Still, the battle won’t be over until the 73-acre Nelles property on Whittier Boulevard at Sorensen Avenue is transferred to private ownership and developed, Newcomer said. “We need to stay vigilant to make sure it happens,” he said. Unger made his comments after state Sen. Ron Calderon had announced – also on Thursday – that he had met with representatives of the Corrections Department and was told a Nelles re-opening would not be “shoved down the throat” of Whittier. The announcement came after the Senate and Assembly approved a $7.3 billion prison reform plan to add beds and beef up rehabilitation programs. WHITTIER – Announcements by state officials Thursday appeared to indicate the shuttered Fred C. Nelles Youth Correctional Facility will not be reopened. Seth Unger, press secretary for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said that his department will seek agreements with local governments before placement of any re-entry facilities – those places that would be used to house parole violators and inmates nearing their release dates. “There will be a dialogue between city officials, local law enforcement and legislators in determining where these re-entry facilities will be located,” Unger said. “If they don’t want it in a certain spot, it won’t go there.” This is good news for Whittier, which has opposed the reopening of Nelles as part of the state prison system, said Whittier Mayor Owen Newcomer.