The Tennessee Department of Correction says closing the Charles Bass Correctional Complex would save the state more than $16.4 million.
Commissioner Derrick Schofield proposed shuttering the Nashville-based prison during his Friday budget presentation to the governor.
“We planned and talked about this internally for the last couple of years in terms of how do we manage beds, how do we get those annexed beds filled because when you have open beds it’s like throwing money out of the window,” Schofield said.
The department says shutting down the facility is part of its long-term vision and would help the department effectively manage the inmate population, fill staff vacancies elsewhere and fund a 5 percent pay increase for certain security staff.
Charles Bass is a medium security prison for men and currently houses about 650 low-security inmates. Under the proposal, the inmates would be moved to other state facilities, including the department’s prison annexes. About 300 minimum-custody annex beds are vacant at other facilities across the state.
During the budget hearing, Schofield said it costs about $92 a day to supervise inmates at Charles Bass, which is more expensive than most of the prisons.
The closure plan and the rest of the department’s budget proposal are being reviewed by the governor.
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by Holly Meyer
December 6, 2014