The Department of Justice has temporarily suspended the shutdown of Taft Correctional Institution, according to U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy.
In a brief statement on Friday, the congressman said the Attorney General had worked with the justice department to halt the Bureau of Prison’s “rash” decision to deactivate the minimum security federal prison in Taft that has 342 employees and can hold 2,500 inmates.
“I am looking forward to meeting with the Attorney General next week to discuss why this deactivation action was taken in the first place,” McCarthy said in the statement.
The Bureau of Prisons had initially said the prison needed $100 million in upgrades, forcing the closure, which was to take place Jan. 31.
The decision to close the prison had sent shockwaves through the community when it was revealed earlier this month. Management and Training Corporation, which runs the facility, estimated it contributed $4.6 million to the local economy.
The company said the Bureau of Prisons could have pursued other options that did not require the prison to be closed.
Taft Mayor David Noerr said he appreciated McCarthy’s efforts to keep Taft Correctional Institution open.
“I know Congressman McCarthy has been working very hard on this issue ever since it was announced,” he said. “I have been in constant contact with him. True to his word, he is digging deep to understand for himself, the people in his district and the taxpayers as a whole every aspect of this very complex issue.”