First inmates should be arriving March 3

After more than two years of waiting, advertising, hoping and heart-breaking disappointments, Taft's Modified Community Correctional facility is finally going to reopen.

The first inmates are expected to arrive in a little over a week, on March 3.

Friday, the correctional officer took their oaths in a brief ceremony in front of their families and dignitaries and the MCCF was open for tours, allowing the guards to show their families where they'll be working.

Mayor Paul Linder and Fourth District Supervisor David Couch made brief remarks before chief of Police Ed Whiting stepped up and swore the correctional officers in.

Couch gave the city a certificate from the county recognizing the work that went in to reopening the MCCF.

Linder said the the MCCF not only means about 70 more jobs in the city, but its also an important source of revenue. But the city won't be seeing much of that until the facility's debt is paid down, Linder noted.

The facility owes the city well over $1 million that has been loaned to cover the unemployment costs associated with shutting it down, plus the cost of getting it ready to reopen.

The city had to install a second perimeter fence, make a much larger sally port to transfer prisoners from the buses and additional security measures.

Porcelain toilets and sinks were also replaced with stainless steel.

In a little over a week, the first inmates will be arriving from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. City Manager Craig Jones said he expects the facility to get 100 to 120 inmates per week until it reaches capacity.

Initially the MCCF will be able to house 512 inmates but the city is hoping to get it licensed to hold up to 600 inmates to increase the income to the city.