New York State correctional officer union members are expected to rally today in Albany to protest a state plan to close 10 minimum- and medium-security prisons by Oct. 1 to save $52 million over two years, reports Stateline.org. The union is airing TV and radio ads accusing the state of jeopardizing workers’ safety. The clash has stirred worries familiar to other states considering similar plans. Proposed closures run into opposition from unions and communities that have come to depend on prisons for much-needed jobs and other benefits.
In Nevada, where home foreclosures and a slump in tourism have helped create a state budget crisis, Gov. Jim Gibbons proposed closing the 841-bed Nevada State Prison to save $33 million over two years, but legislators rejected the proposal after prison workers complained that up to 200 jobs would be eliminated or relocated and local officials mounted, citing economic concerns. In Kansas, local officials have opposed the closing of a minimum-security prison, saying they don't know how they will keep up with park maintenance and other community jobs that the inmates perform.