A prison the size of Nevada’s Lovelock Correctional Center, which houses more than 1,600 inmates, would have to be shuttered if five-percent budget cuts are ordered by Gov. Brian Sandoval, state prison chief James Dzurenda said yesterday, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Dzurenda said he is not seriously proposing to close Lovelock, a medium-security penitentiary, He stressed such a move is unrealistic and would cause a ripple effect throughout the prison system and communities.
“I had to put it out there,” he said of the line item in the budget planning document. “That’s the only way we can do that.” Sandoval’s office said he “is not considering closing down Lovelock or any state prisons.” Dzurenda said the $521 million, two-year general fund budget for corrections that Nevada legislators approved in 2015 already is stretched to the breaking point. He noted that Nevada’s inmate population, which now stands at more than 13,000, is growing faster than previous projections and the budget didn’t include funding for ongoing costs. There’s no room in the system to accommodate more prisoners if Lovelock, which numbers O.J. Simpson among its inmates, or another facility was closed.