Why Nevada Finds It Difficult To Close Unneeded Prison


Nevada has a prison that the governor, the corrections department, and a business advisory group want to close but when a deal was reached on a $900 million budget deficit, the 148-year-old Nevada State Prison at Carson City escaped the budget ax yet again, reports USA Today. Instead, Nevada will raise fees on business, reduce education spending and raid accounts for environmental protection and other purposes.

The state’s opportunity to save $12 million lost out to concerns about how the closing would affect guards who work there and the struggling economy of Carson City, the state capital. The 148-year-old prison’s survival is an example of how hard it is for government to operate with business-like efficiency, even when in dire financial need. “The prison is a classic example,” says businessman Bruce James, chairman of the Nevada Spending and Government Efficiency Commission. “The union is opposed to closing the prison, and the legislature doesn’t have the backbone to do it.” The prison, one of the nation’s oldest, requires three times as many guards per inmate as a modern prison.

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