Oregon Orders First Prison Closure In State Budget Crunch


For the first time in its history, Oregon will shut down an operating prison as part of a $2.5 million budget cut that lays off 63 people, relocates 120 prisoners, and ends alcohol and drug treatment for 50 of those inmates, The Oregonian reports. The state will shutter a minimum-security prison it operates in Salem in the shadow of the Oregon State Penitentiary. The smaller, 176-bed unit opened in 1964 as the state’s first women’s prison.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski has twice ordered state agencies to make across-the-board cuts because the state expects to collect $1 billion less than expected for its current two-year budget. Last week, legislators said they would find money to prevent such deep cuts to the corrections budget that prisoners had to be released. Corrections Director Max Williams has projected that he would have to free 1,000 inmates if his agency had to take cuts as deep as other state operations. Kulongoski has refused any option that would force that step.

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