BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Bakersfield Congressman Kevin McCarthy blasted the Bureau of Prisons Friday for continuing to remove inmates from the Taft Correctional Institution.
More than 100 inmates were transferred to other prisons last week, and Taft city officials said at the time they wanted the transfers delayed due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
"To start moving 1,100 inmates all of a sudden in the midst of all of it, it makes no sense," Dave Noerr, the Taft mayor said. "I am quite surprised and disappointed.”
TCI is scheduled to close on April 30. When the prison closes, more than 300 employees will lose their jobs, officials have said.
Rep. McCarthy released this statement Friday:
“Our country is in the middle of a public health and economic crisis, and rather than working to find alternative solutions to making repairs to the TCI, the BOP has made an abrupt, unilateral decision to remove inmates. This is despite the fact that federal, state, and local public health officials continue to stress the importance of adopting measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus. I find it appalling and irresponsible that the BOP continued this week to move hundreds of inmates out of the TCI to other BOP institutions across the nation. These actions directly contradict guidance from the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with an April 1, 2020 BOP directive to limit inmate movement in response to the coronavirus. These actions also jeopardize the health and safety of the inmates and employees at the TCI, the surrounding community, and the federal officials responsible for transporting these inmates to other facilities. I will continue to press BOP Director Carvajal on the Bureau’s rationale to continue the mass transfer of inmates out of the TCI during this public health emergency, and remain strongly opposed to the closure of the TCI while repairs are made.”