TAFT, Calif. — The Taft Correctional Institution is scheduled to close on April 30. This week more than 100 inmates were transferred to other prisons. Taft city officials want 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.”
The mayor said that as of Saturday no inmates had tested positive for COVID-19.
"In order to shelter in place, they are in the best place they could possibly be right now," he said. "There is no imminent threat to their health and welfare."
Noerr believes the inmates are headed towards Texas or Michigan, two states that have ordered shelter-in-place orders.
When the prison closes, more than 300 employees will lose their jobs.
“Can you imagine going and looking for a job 30 days from now or transferring your family and looking for a school for your children or another home for your family?" Noerr said.
Despite the loss of jobs, Noerr said the city's economy is in good condition.