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Broward Prison, Six Others To Close

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FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami/NSF) – The Broward Correctional Institute and six other prisons across the state will be shut down as part of the state’s Department of Corrections latest cost cutting measures.

The all women facility, located at 20421 Sheridan Street, has a total staff of 272 employees and can house a maximum of 753 inmates, according to the corrections department’s website.

The largest facility slated to close is New River Correctional Institute in Raiford, a part of the so-called Iron Triangle of prison facilities that surround Florida State Prison in northeast Florida.

New River C.I. holds more than 1,300 inmates and is slated for closure in the plan by March, with the adjacent New River O-Unit to be shut down April 1. Closure of just those two facilities would save the state $17.6 million next year.

Other facilities targeted for closure Jefferson Correctional in Monticello; Demilly in Polk City; Gainesville C.I.; Hillsborough C.I. in Riverview near Tampa, Indian River C.I. in Vero Beach, and work camps in Gadsden, Washington, Hendry and Levy counties.

The facilities will be shut down by July 1, the agency said.

“Declining prison admissions has led to a surplus of prison beds, allowing us to pare down our budget shortfall by consolidating and closing our older, less efficient facilities,” said Corrections Secretary Ken Tucker. “We are committed to placing as many affected staff as possible in vacant positions for which they are qualified.”

Inmates will be transferred to similar facilities, Tucker said.

When deciding which ones would close, several factors, including operational costs, impact on the community, security and programs were considered, he said.

The decision comes as the state is in the middle of an effort to privatize nearly 30 facilities, though that move has been blocked for now by a court challenge.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

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