Responding to a mandate from the Legislature, Texas will close two private prisons in August, reducing its capacity by 4,300 beds, reports the Austin American-Statesman. The state has about 12,000 empty prison bunks, thanks to a declining crime rate and reduced recidivism. Texas still operates the largest prison system of any state, with about 150,000 felons in 109 lockups.
The state will close the Mineral Wells Pre-Parole Transfer Facility, which has 2,100 beds, and the Dawson State Jail in Dallas, with 2,200 beds. Both were operated by Corrections Corporation of America. The move is expected to save the state at least $97 million, a state senator said. They are just the second and third closures of prisons in Texas history. Two years ago, the aged Central Unit near Sugar Land was shuttered because of encroaching development.