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Budget cuts lead to closing of Oregon prison

Over 60 officers were laid off or transferred do to the prison closure and budget cuts

SALEM, Ore. — A 176-bed minimum security facility in Salem, Oregon has been shuttered do to budget cuts, the Statesman Journal reports.

The men’s minimum security prison first opened in 1964 as the state’s first women’s prison. The final 18 inmates imprisoned at the facility were moved to the adjacent Oregon State Penitentiary.

The prison’s closing is part of a $2.5 million budget cut, according to the Statesman Journal article. The closure will save about $1.4 million for the remaining budget cycle.

The budget cuts that led to the closing also affected Corrections Department employees. Sixty-three were laid off.

Some of the Corrections Department staff were allowed to keep working, but had to transfer to other prison facilities.

Mike Gower, assistant director of operations for the Oregon Department of Corrections, told the Statesman Journal that the prison closure has caused “a very big disruption” for employees.

If voters on Tuesday approve Measure 73 — creating harsher penalties for repeat drunken drivers and sex offenders--the prison may be reactivated, according to the report. The measure eventually would require the state to spend $29 million on incarceration costs.

Read the full Statesman Journal article here.

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