SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Gov. Kate Brown has confirmed she is closing three Oregon prisons, a decision authorities say will save the state more than $44 million.
The governor said she believes the money could be better invested elsewhere, such as early childhood education.
The prison closure plan was included in the budget proposal the Democrat released last month. On Friday, Brown said she took unilateral action and has directed the Department of Corrections to move forward with closing the three facilities without waiting for legislative adoption of a budget.
Oregon Public Broadcasting reports the closure of three of the state’s 14 prisons will be staggered: First will be Mill Creek Correctional Facility in Salem, which is scheduled to be closed by July of this year, followed by Shutter Creek Correctional Institution in North Bend by January 2022, and the last will be Warner Creek Correctional Facility in Lakeview, to be closed by July 2022.
All three of the prisons are minimum-security facilities, where inmates are within four years of release.
The three prisons combined employ 237 people and house 749 inmates.
The state is developing a plan for relocating all the inmates, according to Department of Corrections spokeswoman Jennifer Black.
The agency is responsible for the care and custody of 13,000 inmates (adults in custody), currently incarcerated in 14 institutions across the state.