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McCarthy, Feinstein Demand that the Taft Correctional Institution Remain Open

Today, Congressman Kevin McCarthy and Senator Dianne Feinstein sent a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) Director Carvajal to express adamant opposition to the BOP’s decisions to continue removing inmates from the Taft Correctional Institution (TCI) during the novel coronavirus pandemic and to close the facility during repair work. The letter also seeks answers from the BOP as to why the facility cannot remain operational while repairs are made, along with BOP’s longstanding refusal to address any alleged issues with some of the structures at the TCI.  

Excerpts of the letter are below, or you can read it in its entirety here:

“As you know, federal, state, and local public health officials have stressed the need to adopt measures to help minimize the spread of COVID-19…

“The BOP’s decision to continue with the mass transfer of inmates, sometimes over 40 inmates to a bus, from the TCI around the country clearly and directly contradicts guidance from federal, state, and local authorities, as well as your own recent directive. These actions are unnecessarily putting inmates and staff at the TCI, the broader community of Taft, and other inmates and staff in the federal prison system at risk of not only contracting COVID-19, but also further spreading this virus…  

“We strongly oppose the decision to close the TCI during repairs, especially since the March 2020 report contemplates two other options that would keep the facility operational and maintain jobs for over 300 of my constituents that are ardently supporting and executing the mission of the BOP…

“Our constituents have informed us that the BOP has been aware of structural issues with some of the buildings at the TCI for over 10 years. This is reflected by the Bureau’s decision to install crack monitors nearly 6 years ago, to further study, but not repair, the deficiencies and alleged degradation of some of the buildings…

“[W]e demand that the BOP immediately stop removing inmates from the TCI during the COVID-19 pandemic and keep the TCI at 50% inmate capacity while repairs to campus buildings are made.”
 

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