The Virginia Department of Corrections, the state’s largest agency with 13,606 employees, will bear the brunt of new state job cuts announced by Gov. Tim Kaine, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Two correctional centers and four smaller facilities will be closed, accounting for more than 250 of the 330 positions the department is eliminating to help save an additional $22.7 million this fiscal year. “We’ve been banking approximately 1,200 vacancies in anticipation of the budget reductions,” department spokesman Larry Traylor said. “It is our hope that within these vacancies we would find a place for those 330 employees.”
The largest facility targeted for closing, the original part of the Southampton Correctional Center, which opened in 1938, means the loss of 116 jobs. “It’s going to have a very deep impact,” said Jay Randolph, assistant county administrator. The prison is one of the area’s largest employers. Farming is the chief industry and other jobs are scarce. Other cutbacks: less money for drug treatment and counseling; delaying $7 million for planning a new prison; and the elimination of 11 day-reporting sites used by some of the 60,000 probationers and parolees. State prisons hold 33,300 inmates at an annual average cost of $22,830 each. Almost two-thirds of the more than 50 state correctional facilities are 20 to 65 years old.