Administration: KOMO News Staff is reporting the State to close McNeil Island prison due to budget cuts.
“The state will close the McNeil Island Corrections Center and move the inmates to other prisons around the state next year as part of an effort to save millions of dollars.
From KOMONEWS.com — OLYMPIA, Wash. – The state will close the McNeil Island Corrections Center and move the inmates to other prisons around the state next year as part of an effort to save millions of dollars.
Chad Lewis, spokesman for the state Department of Corrections, said the McNeil Island facility will officially close by April 1.
The agency had originally planned to close Larch Corrections Center near Vancouver but determined that closing Larch would not save enough money, Lewis said.
The state will save an estimated $6.3 million each year by closing the McNeil Island prison, located in south Puget Sound. It would have saved only $2 million by closing Larch.
The Department of Corrections must reduce spending by nearly $53 million as a result of across-the-board cuts due to declining tax revenue.
Department of Corrections Secretary Eldon Vail said the McNeil Island prison had become “the victim of a historic budget crisis.”
The closure “will save the most money without compromising the safety of our staff, the offenders and the public,” Secretary Eldon Vail said. “The budget crisis is causing us to make some of the most painful decisions in our agency’s history.”
Lewis said the Department of Corrections will have enough beds in its remaining 12 prisons to house the 16,000 offenders who are currently incarcerated.
McNeil Island’s Special Commitment Center for sex offenders, operated by the state Department of Social and Human Services, will remain open, officials said.
The costs to operate the ferries, barges and fire boats to McNeil Island will shift to the DSHS. The island will not need as many ferry and barge runs once the prison is shut down.
Over the past year, the Department of Corrections has downsized McNeil Island from a medium-security prison that houses 1,200 offenders to a minimum-security prison with about 515 inmates. There are about 245 staff members who work at the prison.
“The impact this will have on the staff and their families is enormous,” Vail said. “We will do all we possibly can to find them positions elsewhere in the agency.”
This will be the third prison the state has closed within a year. Two minimum-security prisons, Ahtanum View Corrections Center in Yakima and Pine Lodge Corrections Center for Women near Spokane, were closed earlier in 2010.
DOC has operated the McNeil Island prison since 1981, when the state took over the former federal penitentiary there, which closed in 1976.
Larch Corrections Center, a minimum-security prison located on Larch Mountain in Clark County, will go back to full capacity and house 480 offenders. It currently houses about 240 offenders.
Council Meeting – December 7, 2010 at Town Hall.
Parks Task Force – December 16, 2010 at 6:30 PM at Town Hall in the Map Room.
Planning Commission – November 22, 2010 at 6:30 PM at Town Hall
Council Future Agenda “Look-Ahead” Issues:
Copies of the Agenda and staff reports are available at all Town facilities once published.
December 7 Council Meeting Proposed Agenda Items
1. Urban Forestry Management Revisions – Public Input
2. Uses of REET Funds (Study Session)
3. Janitorial Services Contract (Introduction/action)
Future Topics – Policy Related:
1. Nuisance and Abatement procedures (Fall-Winter-Spring).
2. Grown “Fences” (Fall-Winter-Spring).
3. Shoreline Management (Fall-Winter-Spring)
4. Storm Water Comprehensive Plan (Fall-Winter-Spring)
Future Topics – Administrative/Contractual:
1. Parks Task Force – 2011 Work Plan (January)
The Public Safety Career and Volunteer staff responded to the windstorm Monday night and in to Tuesday morning throughout Town.
Old Military Road emphasis patrols are planned for the next several weeks.
Additionally, projects being worked at the staff level include:
1. 2011 Fire/EMS Training schedule
2. Staffing Models
3. Equipment Needs
4. Inventory Management Needs
5. Oral Boards for 6 EMT candidates
All of the crews responded to the Monday night windstorm and corresponding clean-up throughout the week. Further complicating the clean-up, was the Wednesday implemental weather and the forecast for snow this week-end into next week. Crews preloaded the plows, deicer and sand, and winterized the buildings.