Newsom budget calls for facility to close on May 31. Closure will have major impact on city

By Doug Keeler

Taft's modified community correctional facility, which employs 75 people full-time and provides an important revenue source for the city, is targeted for closure in Gov. Gavin Newsom's preliminary budget, City Manager Craig Jones said.

In addition to the jobs, the facility, which can house more than 60 inmates, provides about a $1 million annually to the city's general fund in a service fee and savings from the operating cost.

The local MCCF is the only contract facility left in the state, Jones said.

He said the governor's budget call for it to be closed by the end of May, but the city hasn't heard anything from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Under the contract with the CDCR, Jones said, the facility can be closed with 30 days notice.

Until it does, it's business as usual and the facility was still expecting inmates to be transferred in.

The MCCF is also advertising for a registered nurse.

It's going to have a major impact on the city's budget. The current operating budget is $7.4 million.

However, the city knew it was going to be closed sooner or later.

"We've never looked at this as a forever thing," Jones said.

He said the council has been setting money aside as a precaution.

The facility was built in 1990 and opened the next year as a return to custody facility.

It remained open for 20 years until it was closed in 2011 as part of the prison realignment of AB 109.

It remained closed until 2014 when it was opened as a modified community correctional facility.

As an MCCF, it had a higher security level then it did as an RTC and no inmates came out to work in the community.