Shafter, state agree on deal to house 640 inmates in CCF

SHAFTER, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) The city finalized a contract for its community correctional facility to house 640 state inmates.

City manager John Guinn said Thursday that 80 people will be hired to staff the CCF. The contract is for about $65 million over five years. He sees a number of benefits

"The payroll for these 80 people are part of that," Guinn said Friday. "And it's just great for the economy of the area." He says these workers are likely to spend money in Shafter and other parts of Kern County.

And, Guinn sees benefits on an even bigger scale. "The State of California is getting a service that they want and need, and at a very affordable cost," he says.

Shafter will help the state meet its requirement to reduce prison populations, that's what shut down Shafter's CCF a couple years ago.

The facility has been closed and empty since so-called prison realignment took hold in 2011, when more inmates were put into county jail systems.

Though it's been empty, Shafter officials have hoped their CCF could get back in business. With this contract, they'll have to modify the building with things like improvements to restrooms, outdoor visiting areas, and an upgraded camera and monitoring system.

"And we're also building a secondary perimeter fence around the outside," Guinn said. That's because they'll now get a slightly higher level of inmate that what they previously housed. Guinn said the site will now be a "modified community correctional facility."

Guinn said the city's been getting ready to move quickly once all the details were worked out, and it should have prisoners in the CCF before Christmas.

He said the new contract requires about the same number of employees as their previous agreement with the state, and it's for a "comparable" amount of money.

And, the city manager says income from that contract will help Shafter kids.

"What we have are early childhood literacy classes," Guinn said. That's a partnership with the Richland Elementary School District. "It will be a really nice addition," he says. "And give us a lot of ability we wouldn't have otherwise. I'm really excited about that potential."

Guinn said he's been working for a couple months to hammer things out with the state, and now it's good to go. "Now it's time to actually execute, get everything in place," he says. "Hopefully, have money left over that can benefit the community that way. And citizens, some folks, can have better jobs."