TAFT, Calif. — Taft Correctional Institution, which can hold 2,500 inmates, is under threat of closure yet again. That's according to WARN Notices sent from the Management & Training Corporation.
According to the notice, sent to Kern County Supervisor Mick Gleason, the facility contract is expected to end and 332 staff members will be laid off as of March 31. MTC said it is working to find alternatives to closing the facility but are required under state and federal law to give a notice of potential closures.
News of the institution closing first came to light back in October 2019 when officials said they were notified the Bureau of Prisons made plans to close the minimum-security Satellite Camp on January 31.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons said the decision to close the Taft Prison was because funds did not exist for an estimated $100 million worth of repairs. They said the decision came after 10 to 15 years of infrastructure problems at the jail that included geological and seismic concerns.
After the initial announcement, local Congressman and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy urged the Attorney General to rethink the closure.
In November 2019, MTC announced the closure would be suspended as the U.S. Bureau of Prisons worked on a study on making repairs to the TCI while inmates remain at the facility. They said they would reevaluate the closure and keep the prison running until March. 31.
With the announcement of the latest pending closure, TCI now has two months to find an alternative solution.
MTC released a statement regarding the latest updates:
MTC’s current contract with the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to operate the Taft Correctional Institution will expire on March 31, 2020. The BOP initially announced it was closing the facility but later paused to explore other options. We are waiting to hear back from the BOP as to what they plan to do with the facility.
Given MTC’s strong track record of operating the facility, we remain hopeful for the opportunity to continue providing services at the Taft facility.
Meanwhile, we are required by state law to notify our staff of the pending closure/layoffs 60 days in advance, which is why notices were sent to our employees recently.