Texas closes 3 of 4 prisons slated to cease operations

Inmate population has declined, from 156,000 in 2011 to 146,000 now

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DALLAS (AP) - A state official says three of the four prison facilities set for closure under the Texas budget have ceased operations, and the fourth will be closed long before the September deadline.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark tells the Dallas Morning News that once the fourth closes, Texas will have shuttered eight prison facilities in six years.

Over that time, the state's inmate population has also declined, from 156,000 in 2011 to 146,000 now.

Clark says prison staff will be offered jobs at other facilities in a move that will also help alleviate staff shortages at some rural prisons. He says inmates will continue to be transferred to other facilities.

Closing the four units means eliminating more than 2,000 prison beds. Lawmakers anticipate the closures will save about $49.5 million.

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