A low-security federal prison camp for male offenders with an adjacent minimum security satellite camp.
Taft Federal Prison Camp is located near Bakersfield, California. It’s located in the Western Region of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Since the inception of Taft, back in the late 1990s, various private-prison companies have managed the institution. That makes a difference. Staff members do not work for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. They work for the private prison company. I served longer than five years in the minimum-security federal prison camp at Taft. Like all prisons, it has advantages and disadvantages. I explain those in my review below. I expect to publish reviews from other people who have been in the Taft Federal Prison Camp, too. And of course, you can read extensively about how I made progress at Taft by reading my various books. I also publish a lot of audio files and webinars that describe life in the Taft Federal Prison Camp.Inmate Gender: Male Offenders
Population:500 Total Inmates
Inmates at the FCI
500 Inmates at the Camp
Judicial District: CA
BOP Region:Western Region
- 1. My name is:Michael Santos
- 2. I arrived on:In the summer of 2005
- 3. I’m scheduled to leave on:I finished my prison term in 2013, and I left Taft for the federal prison in Atwater in the early fall of 2011.
- 4.My judge sentenced me to serve how many months? My judge sentenced me to serve 45 years. But I was sentenced under the sentencing laws that existed in 1987. It’s called the old-law, and it offered opportunities to earn more good-time credits. I served 26 years in federal prison.
- 5. In the past, I’ve been confined at the following institutions:5. In the past, I’ve been confined at the following institutions: I was confined in many federal prisons during my 26-year journey. Besides many jails and transit centers while I served my federal prison sentence, I went through many federal prisons. I began at the United States Penitentiary, in Atlanta. After about six or seven years at USP Atlanta, I transferred to the Federal Correctional Institution at McKean. From FCI McKean, I transferred to FCI Fairton. Then I transferred to FCI Fort Dix. After about eight years at FCI Fort Dix, my security level dropped and I served time in minimum-security camps. I served time in the Federal Prison Camp in Florence and the Federal Prison Camp in Lompoc before I transferred to the Federal Prison Camp in Taft. From Taft, I went to the federal prison camp in Atwater, where I concluded my time in prison. Then I transferred to the halfway house in San Francisco.
- 6. I was convicted of the following offense: All of my crimes related to convictions for trafficking in cocaine. The big crime was operating a continuing criminal enterprise, but there were additional crimes that included perjury.
- 7. Pros of the facility:I’m reviewing the federal prison camp in Taft here. I found many advantages at FPC Taft. Primarily, the Taft prison camp is clean. It has plentiful showers with ample supplies of hot water. I dozens of marathon-length distances at Taft Camp. The commissary was exceptional, with access to fresh fruits and vegetables while I was there. I also liked that I could maneuver my way into jobs that allowed me to focus on my writing. I published several books while serving time in the Taft camp. I published books under my name and I also earned a living by ghostwriting books for other people.
- 8. Cons of the facility:The biggest draw back at Taft, for me, was that visiting was only available one day each week. I am very close with my wife and I would have liked to visit more frequently. Some camps offer visiting three days each week. Also, the Jpay email system at Taft is not as good as the email system in the BOP. It’s not as good because it has functionality limits that do not exist in the BOP. Still, email was not available to me during my first 24 years of imprisonment. I could always see the good in the Taft prison camp.
- 9.Food assessment of the facility:Prison food is bland and unexceptional. If you’re looking for epicurean treats or a wonderful dining experience, prison is not the spot. Ordinarily, I used personal resources to purchase food from the commissary. I would avoid the chow hall in Taft and in other federal prisons because I preferred to eat alone, avoiding the crowds and lines of the chow hall.
- 10.Recreational opportunities at the facility:The recreational opportunities in the camp, for me, include a running track and an open field. When I was in Taft, I was in the late stages of my imprisonment. I did not need structure. I did not want structure. I wanted independence and solitude, which I found in abundance at Taft. I ran many marathon-length distances around the Taft track. I did thousands of pushups each each week. Others used the aerobic machines that include stationary bikes and stepping machines. The Taft Camp did not have a weight pile, but I did not mind. It has pullup bars and dip bars for strength training.
- 11.Programs available in the facility:Taft camp was not heavy on programs. It did not have the coveted RDAP program that so many people in prison want. People want to enroll in RDAP because that program can lead to up to 12 months off the sentence. People could participate in independent study programs that included speaking clubs. They could participate in counseling sessions. They could participate in religious groups. A computer lab was available for people who wanted to learn word processing and spreadsheets. I avoided programs, but others found use in them.
- 12.Best jobs in the facility:The best job is a value decision. I valued free time so I could write. I wanted to spend my time alone, writing, reading, or exercising. For me, the best job was an orderly position. As an orderly, I was able to work a few minutes a day by pushing a broom around a 10×10 area. Big deal. Then I could spend the rest of my time alone.
- 13.Living Quarters in the facility:The living quarters in Taft were very clean, as far as prisons go. Inmates live in one of eight large dormitories. Each dormitory holds between 100 and 200 people, depending on population levels. People usually sleep in two-man cubicles. When crowded, counselors may assign them to three or four man cubicles. I offer much more detail of these facilities in my various books.
- 14.How would I assess safety in the facility? :Living in Taft camp, like any other federal prison camp, is safe. It’s not totally absent of violence or volatility. But working in an office complex is totally absent of volatility. But if a person chooses to avoid altercations, a person can do so in Taft camp.
- 15.What types of pressure did I feel in the facility?:There is always pressure associated with living away from the people we love. But as far as prison is concerned, Taft camp offered minimal pressures.
- 16.What is my general review?:I did not mind the time that I served in Taft camp. During the five-plus years I served in Taft Camp, I made significant progress. Of course, I made progress in every facility where I served time. Serving time is about an individual’s attitude—not about the institution. Still, Taft served me well as a place to pay my debt to society for the crimes I committed. I would give Taft a rating of 8. If Taft offered more access to visits and more access to email, I would have given it a 10.
- 17.On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give the facility a rating of:8
- 18.Personal Blog:
TAFT PRISON CAMP
A low security with an adjacent minimum security satellite camp.
1500 Cadet Road, Taft, CA 93268