Nevada State Prison could be closed to save money

There seems to be no direction at all from the part of the governor, it seems the governor does not care at all for the society he is part of. He never did and he probably never will.

Source: Las Vegas Sun
By Cy Ryan

Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010 | 8:45 p.m.

Governor’s staff proposes $328 million in budget cuts (2-3-2010)
CARSON CITY — The Nevada State Prison, one of the oldest prisons in the United States, may be a casualty in the upcoming budget cuts.

Howard Skolnik, director of the state Department of Corrections, has notified prison employees that the prison in Carson City may be closed. But it will be up to the Legislature to decide what reductions to make to fill an $880 million hole in the state budget.

There are 187 employees at the prison, which was established in 1862 when the Nevada Legislature purchased the Warm Springs Hotel and 20 acres for $80,000.

Abraham Curry, who sold the hotel to the state, was the first warden.

Until the prison in Ely opened in 1989, it was the maximum security prison where high-security inmates were housed.

It is still the state’s site for executions. The last execution by lethal injection was in April 2006.

According to a history of the prison, all license plates issued by the state have been manufactured at the prison since 1928.

When Nevada legalized gaming in 1932, the prison allowed a “bull pen” to permit inmates to gamble at a make-shift casino. The gambling was ceased in 1967.

The 2009 Legislature rejected the recommendation of Gov. Jim Gibbons to close the prison, which has 841 beds. Lawmakers approved a plan to delay construction of new or expanded prisons and continue operation of Nevada State Prison, which has been remodeled and expanded several times.

Daniel Burns, communications director for Gibbons, declined to answer questions earlier this week about whether the governor would recommend closure of any prisons to save money.

Skolnik said the Tonopah Conservation Camp remains temporarily closed while the staff gets training in Las Vegas but will reopen. The director temporarily shut down the camp after an inmate walked away. It was the second such incident since he became director.

Source: Reno Gazette-Journal

February 3, 2010

Gov. Jim Gibbons proposes $328 million in budget cuts

By Anjeanette Damon

Gov. Jim Gibbons proposed $328 million in budget cuts Wednesday, including closing the Nevada State Prison in Carson City and creating holes in the state’s already tattered social safety net.

His plan cuts mental health services to adults and children, closes a youth correctional center, charges the needy more for health services and shrinks the agency responsible for regulating the state’s gaming industry.

The cuts, however, are only a fraction of the $880 million in savings lawmakers need to find to close a growing budget shortfall.

Many of the cuts had been rejected by the Legislature. But as tax revenues continue to deteriorate, legislative leaders said they’ll have no choice but to impose cuts deemed too ugly to make just seven months ago.

“The list contains many things that no one wants to see happen,” Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, said. “My guess is many of them will happen.”

If the state were to layoff “every single employee” paid for by the general fund, they would still be short $300 million, Buckley said.

“The enormity of this has not yet sunk in to the public,” she said.

The plan calls for 234 layoffs in state government, not including higher education, and the elimination of 362 vacant positions. Notices to potentially affected employees began going out this week, Stacy Woodbury, Gibbons’ deputy chief of staff, said.

“Right now all plans are tentative at best,” Woodbury said.

Legislative leaders said the list was just a “starting point.”

“I don’t know that there won’t be cuts beyond what is being proposed,” Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas, said. “A lot of people are going to get hurt from this.”

Gibbons is expected to announce a the date of a special session and deliver his plan to cut the budget in a televised address Monday.

Robin Reedy, his chief of staff, said they are exploring ways to cut an additional $500 million, adding he hopes to avoid further cutting salaries for state workers.

“We’re squeezing the blood out of every rock and hope that number is as small as we can get it,” Reedy said of salary reductions.€©

Additional Facts
Proposed cuts
$8 million: Child welfare funding to Clark and Washoe counties
$1.5 million: Legal expenses to fight Yucca Mountain
$13 million: Close Nevada State Prison
$1.1 million: Eliminate Nevada Equal Rights Commission
$2.9 million: Lay off 27 employees from the Gaming Control Board
$4 million: Housing assistance for the mentally ill
$31 million: Mental health services
$167 million: Primary and secondary education
234: Total workers to be laid off
362: Jobs to remain vacant

Proposed increase
$1.1 million: Premiums for Nevada Check Up

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