New perimeter fence, lighting goes in

Construction of a new perimeter fence is complete, new security lighting should be installed this week and the hiring for Taft's Community Correctional facility is progressing.

That means the CCF should be ready to open on Feb. 24, Taft City Manager Craig Jones said.

Jones updated the Taft City Council on the status of Taft's money-making penal facility which has been closed for more than two years, costing the city as much as $3 million in lost revenue plus the unemployment payout and other costs associated with the shutdown.

The city and state came to an agreement in December to get the facility open again, but the city is having to pay for the extensive security upgrades, which include a new larger sally port, a second perimeter fence and an access road around the exterior of the facility.

The improvements include a “quite extensive upgrade to the lighting.”

The new light standards were already up, Jones said Tuesday, and the lights themselves should be in soon.

In the meantime, the hiring process for guards and other staff is nearly done.

“We've pretty much got all the positions filled or they are being filled,” Jones said.

The council also approved a contract with the West Side Health Care District to provide medical services to the CCF inmates.