Five inmates have escaped from the private facility in a month

Posted at 5:22 PM, Nov 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-14 21:51:02-05

The private minimum security prison in Taft has been battling rumors of a potential closure for years, and one Taft resident says a recent string of inmate escapes may not be helping its case to stay open.

"I know this doesn't look well for them," said Bob Trickey.
"So, they need to do something. I don't know what they can do. Put a fence around it. But until they do that, they are going to continue to have this problem."
On Saturday, three inmates were reported missing after they were not present for an official count. Joel Garcia, Rigoberto Miguel Preciado and Noe Prieto were all in the prison for cocaine possession charges.
The facility, which houses around 550 low risk federal inmates, does not have a perimeter security fence or armed posts.
A month ago, two prisoners walked out of the facility as well.
"Maybe they should change the name," Trickey said.
"It's not really a prison, it's more of an open detention center. Voluntary."
The status of the missing inmates is unknown and prison officials were not immediately available for comment.
For now, Trickey and other residents say the idea of a continuous prison break doesn't worry them.
"I guess I can't worry about it. If I worried about it, I'd worry all the time," Trickey said.
"So no, I'm not worried about it, haven't been worried about it. I don't think I've ever seen one of these people. And if I have I don't know if I would know it anyway. I don't know if they wear uniforms out there."