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Lawmakers Discuss Closing Two Prisons

April 16, 2003
By: Missy Shelton
State Capital Bureau

A proposal to close two state prisons and release more than 1200 inmates came before the senate appropriations committee this week.

Missy Shelton reports.

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Senate budget writers listened to a proposal that would save the money 31 million dollars...The catch is that two correctional facilities, one in Boonville and one in Chillicothe would be shut down and more than 1200 inmates would be on the street.

Democratic senator Jim Mathewson has the Boonville facility in his district.

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Mathewson says he knows the state is in a financial bind and the senate appropriations committee is looking for 700 million dollars in savings.

He says he's not surprised to see lawmakers entertaining this option.

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If something has to give, Republican senator John Russell says it's unlikely to be the prison system.

Russell is chairman of the senate appropriations committee.

He says it's unlikely lawmakers will close prisons in order to help balance the budget because it would take long-term planning.

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Long-term planning is difficult Russell says considering the deadline to pass the budget is three and a half weeks away.

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