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Montgomery State Prison on Closure List
Thursday, 21 January 2010

January 21--  The Montgomery State Prison in Mount Vernon is slated to close late this summer. 

State Senator Tommie Williams of Lyons says Department of Corrections Commissioner Brian Owens reported the plans in a budget presentation to lawmakers in Atlanta Wednesday.

"He expressed they would begin closing it as of August this year," Senator Williams said.

However, Senator Williams reports he and State Representative Greg Morris are trying to get the department to keep it open as a "Fast Track" facility.  "While I don't disagree with their intent to move to more efficient prisons, those are a lot of jobs in our area and we're trying to find another function for the prison.  Hopefully we can change it to a Fast Track prison for folks who are about to exit prison.  My goal is to find another solution rather than closing it," he said.

Corrections officials say the prison has 84 fulltime and four part-time employees.  Senator Williams says if the prison is closed, the jobs would go to other prisons in the state system, but "my first priority is to try to retain jobs in Mount Vernon."

The prison has been in danger of being closed in past years, however, this time the state's budget deficit is so big that Senator Williams admits "it will be an uphill battle" to keep it open.

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