North Carolina’s Union Correctional Center is an example of how complicated and difficult it can be to cut government spending, even as the state faces a budget deficit of epic proportions, reports the Raleigh News & Observer. The prison is a relic from the 1930s prison road gangs that state leaders keep trying to close. Gov. Beverly Perdue wants to shut it down. So does the state Department of Correction. So do the efficiency experts, who say the prison is too small and antiquated to be cost-effective.
The Union Correctional Center has survived the budget knife through a combination of insider political connections, local businesses and governments benefiting from cheap inmate labor. Even though the state is facing a shortage of prison beds, state officials say inmates from three prisons could be moved to larger, more efficient prisons where cells can house two inmates instead of one.