A new federal prison in Berlin, N.H., sits vacant as federal officials, unsure from week to week how much money Congress will provide them as the two parties battle over the budget for the rest of this year, are operating in chaos, confusion, and uncertainty, says the New York Times. The prison has space for 1,280 inmates but the government has not been able to hire correctional officers and other employees.
Pamela Laflamme, city planner for Berlin, said, “The prison is fully constructed and ready to be occupied. The warden has been hired and is in the community. Federal officials are waiting for a budget to be passed before they can hire operating staff.” U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), said, “We now have a state-of-the-art, $276 million prison that is sitting vacant. The federal Bureau of Prisons is spending $4 million a year to maintain an empty building.”