Taft Community Correctional Facility adds security before reopening

TAFT, Calif. - Excitement in Taft is building as the reopening of the Community Corrections Facility nears.

Correctional officers are in training this week as they prepare for the Feb. 24 opening.

About 30 percent of the staff are returning officers and they are helping to train the new officers that have already been hired.

Several modifications had to be made it to the facility to make it ready for a higher level of inmate.

A second fence and other security measures have been put in place to keep the community safe.

A federal court order issued Monday requires California to meet a prison population cap by February 2016, with interim deadlines along the way. The state's 33 adult prisons and a new medical facility in Stockton were designed to hold a combined 81,574 inmates. They currently house about 117,500, or 144 percent of their designed capacity.
Under the court's order:
   -- The state must reduce the population to 143 percent of design capacity by June 30 and to 141.5 percent of capacity by Feb. 28, 2015.
   -- It must reduce the population to 137.5 percent of designed capacity, or 112,164 inmates, by Feb. 28, 2016.
   -- If the state fails to meet the interim or final caps, a court-appointed compliance officer will release inmates based on their perceived risk to public safety and other factors.
   Among steps the state will take to meet the cap:
   -- Increase good-time credits for nonviolent second-strike offenders, resulting in the earlier release of a projected 1,400 inmates by February 2016. Second-strikers previously could earn up to 20 percent off their sentences, but in the future could be released after serving two-thirds of their sentences.
   -- Release about 350 nonviolent second-strikers by making them eligible for parole after they served half their sentences.
   -- Free about 65 inmates who already have been granted parole by the Board of Parole Hearings but whose actual release dates are sometime in the future.
   -- Add about 80 women to an alternative custody program for female inmates.
   -- Parole about 100 medically incapacitated inmates by expanding an existing medical parole program that during the last three years has allowed for the parole of 56 inmates.
   -- Speed up parole for about 165 offenders who are serving lengthy sentences for crimes they committed as minors.
   -- Parole a projected 85 inmates age 60 or older who have served at least 25 years in prison.
   -- Expand a Stockton medical facility to house about 1,100 mentally ill inmates.
   -- Continue housing about 8,900 inmates in private prisons in other states.
   -- House about 3,500 inmates in private prisons within California.
   -- Build cells for about 2,400 inmates at two existing prisons.
   -- Reopen the 600-bed Northern California Re-entry Facility in Stockton.
   -- House about 2,400 inmates in a former private prison at California City, between Bakersfield and Barstow.
   -- House about 300 inmates in county jails through contracts for surplus jail space.
   -- House about 500 inmates in new community re-entry centers.
   -- Consider additional changes to reduce the population, including the possible establishment of a commission to recommend changes to sentencing laws.
   Population reduction estimates by state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Department of Finance.


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