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Will there be more prison closures?

This story, which is primarily about the soon-to-be-closed Central Unit in Sugar Land, discussed the possibility that other prisons may also wind up being closed, but doesn’t seem to hopeful about it.

Officials note that Texas is perhaps the only state in the country now with hundreds of empty prison bunks and the possibility of having even more in the future, if trends hold.

Even so, House Corrections Committee Chairman Jerry Madden, R-Richardson, said that the future of nearby prisons is secure for now.

“There’s been no discussion about others down there,” he said. “Development has surrounded Central, and the community there wanted another use for that site. This is driven partly by what the communities want there, but no one has said they want this for any other units down there.”

Even so, Madden said other opportunities may emerge as other rural prisons become urban, in a shift that benefits community-based rehabilitation and treatment programs that have proven successful in reducing recidivism in Texas.

All things considered, I expect this was a unique situation, aided by a historic budget shortfall. I will be very surprised to see any sequels in the next few legislative sessions. Grits, who is more optimistic than I am about this, has more.

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