So it is a different from the French version. On this day in 1993 groundbreaking ceremonies were held for High Desert State Prison. Long before construction of its neighboring prison the California Conservation Center as it was originally called, was highly debated. So much in fact, the issue whether to build a second prison was put before the voters of Lassen County in June 1992, that won by a 58 percent voter approval. High Desert State Prison was designed to house 4,500 inmates and opened in September 1995.