TAFT, Calif. (KGET) — Staff at the Taft Correctional Institution were blindsided Tuesday by the Bureau of Prisons’ announcement the facility will close at the end of January, according to the facility’s Human Resources manager.

Gina L. Graber said employees are sticking together and “working every angle they can to save this place.”

Graber, of  Management & Training Corporation, which manages the federal minimum-security prison. said the majority of the 342 people who work at the facility live nearby.

“Most of these employees have always lived in Taft, went to school together, all know each other,” Graber said. “They want to stay right here. They want to work right here.”

The prison has a capacity of 2,500 inmates and contributes $4.6 million to the local economy, according to MTC.

“We believe the BOP should reverse this decision and allow time to discuss alternatives to closing the facility, including developing a plan to address needed repairs while keeping the prison open,” the company said in a statement. 

Graber said they’re hoping for the best.

The prison is scheduled to close Jan. 31.