Nevada State Prison down to just over 200 inmates

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Historic Nevada State Prison is now down to just over a quarter of the number of inmates it held at its peak population as prison officials continue the process of closing it for good.

Corrections spokesman Steve Suwe said the official count at midday Friday was 219 inmates.

He said the prison will remain open until the end of March as directed by the Legislature.

Director of Corrections Greg Cox told lawmakers when they set that schedule that, given that much time, he could sharply reduce the number of layoffs by moving correctional staff to Warm Springs, Northern Nevada Correctional Center, the Stewart Conservation Camp and Lovelock as openings became available.

Prison officials said during the 2011 Legislature that just closing it down all at once would potentially result in more than 150 layoffs - which drew protests not only from the correctional officers' unions but city officials, who feared the economic impact of that kind of job loss in Carson City.

"There have been no layoffs," said Suwe. "Not yet."

As of Friday, there were 78 custody and 15 administrative staff still at NSP.

"At the moment, there are no plans to move any more staff that I know of," he said. "We're still hoping to move them to Warm Springs and NNCC based on attrition." Both of those institutions are in Carson City.

Suwe said the remaining inmates are housed in Unit 3 and what the prison calls "shortline" - minimum custody.

At its peak, there were nearly 800 inmates at NSP. It is being closed because it is the state's oldest and most expensive prison to operate, requiring nearly double the staff per inmate as High Desert in southern Nevada, the state's newest prison.

Closing NSP by March 31 is expected to save the state some $15 million over the biennium. In addition, Public Works officials say closing NSP, parts of which are more than 100 years old, will eliminate the need for millions in repairs and upgrades.

Suwe said that inmates have been moved to several institutions within the system but that the majority of them are being transferred to High Desert State Prison.


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