In a bid to ease pressure on Nevada’s strained finances, Gov. Jim Gibbons last week approved plans to phase out Nevada State Prison in Carson City. The governor said this is expected to save the state $3 million while improving safety for prison staff.

The prison is more than 100 years old and poorly designed, costing taxpayers an additional $4,000 to $6,000 per inmate, the governor said. The prison has more than 650 inmates.

Howard Skolnik, director of the Department of Corrections, plans to transfer the inmates to other prisons. The prison staff will be offered jobs at other DOC facilities. Portions of the prison built more recently would remain open.

The Nevada Spending and Government Efficiency Commission recommended closing the prison more than two years ago. The move was resisted by the Legislature due to the influence of labor unions, according to Gibbons.

“We need to stop bowing to labor unions and do what is best for the taxpayers of Nevada,” he said.

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