Taft could land millions of dollars for housing LA inmates

Taft could land millions of dollars for housing LA inmates »Play Video
TAFT, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — The city of Taft is bargaining with Los Angeles County to score a multimillion dollar contract that would bring more than 500 inmates to its correctional facility.

Last November, the state of California canceled its contract the Taft Community Correctional Facility, resulting in mass layoffs for the city. But, if a new contract is approved, the facility could be back in business.

By mid-September the halls of that facility could be filled with inmates imported from Los Angeles. That's if L.A. County Supervisors approve the multimillion dollar contract to house inmates in Taft.

"We're going to save L.A. County half their costs," said Taft's Mayor Randy Miller. With Los Angeles County paying only $60 per inmate, the deal is a money saver for L.A. and a moneymaker for Taft.

The city would even get almost $500,000 in startup costs alone to get the facility up and running.

"It puts 50 more people back to work," said the mayor, also noting that part of the income from the contract will go back to the city.

In addition, CCF employees laid off last year will have first pick at jobs - all good news for the community of Taft, which watched the closure impacts their small town. One man told Eyewitness News, "I think it's a good thing, good for the community, jobs, everything!"

The mayor said getting the contract to approval stages has been a long process, but knows if it passes it will mean security for the city. Miller plans to put money towards road construction, the Chamber of Commerce and other departments in need of help.

"Having some money available to do those things will help the city of Taft overall," said Miller.

The contract goes to Taft City Council for approval on Monday. On Tuesday, it goes to L.A. County Supervisors for approval.