Congressman Kevin McCarthy criticized the federal Bureau of Prisons today for continuing to remove and transfer inmates from the Taft Correctional Institution.

McCarthy said such removal should not be taking place amid the coronavirus pandemic and panned the BOP for its decision, especially given that public health officials are stressing the importance of social distancing and other measures to slow the spread of the virus.

“I find it appalling and irresponsible that the BOP continued this week to move hundreds of inmates out of the TCI to other BOP institutions across the nation. These actions directly contradict guidance from the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with an April 1 BOP directive to limit inmate movement in response to the coronavirus,” McCarthy said in a statement. “These actions also jeopardize the health and safety of the inmates and employees at the TCI, the surrounding community, and the federal officials responsible for transporting these inmates to other facilities.”

McCarthy said he will continue to press the BOP on its decision to move forward with the transfers and express his opposition to the closure of the prison, which has been set to happen by April 30. The prison’s 300-plus employees are expected to be laid off by that point.