Let’s make sure prison closure is best solution
Budget cutting has already caused a great deal of pain in many largely unseen ways in Nevada, including in state agencies and to the clients they serve, as well as in schools struggling to preserve programs.
But when talk turns to closing the Nevada State Prison, the magnitude of the problem suddenly becomes much easier to visualize.
Is the closure a good solution? Only closer scrutiny of state prisons chief Howard Skolnik’s logic can answer that question, and we hope that scrutiny is hastily applied. Closing the prison is a serious matter. It’s serious to the 200 employees whose lives it would change, and it’s serious to Carson City as a whole. Closure of the prison ” apparently made possible by relaxed parole standards ” should not be approved until it’s clear there are no other solutions and that it’s a good move not just for the current budget crisis, but for the future needs of the state.
At the same time, it’s important to realize there’s a strong possibility Skolnik’s reasoning is sound. A building that old is unlikely to be efficient for modern demands, and the $19 million it would save yearly is significant in these times.
We take some consolation at this point knowing that the closure wouldn’t lead to layoffs of its staff, but it’s certain that some of those jobs would be displaced to other areas. That’s a clear negative for Carson City.
Above all, we worry the proposal to close the prison portends far greater pain to come. A government town like Carson City is likely to feel that hurt deeply.
– This editorial represents the view of the Nevada Appeal Editorial Board.