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Rethinking Fort Lyon

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When it comes to funding prisons, Republicans are generally in support and Democrats opposed. But in the case of the Fort Lyons Correctional Facility, Republican state Representative Mark Waller of Colorado Springs applauds the slated closure, while Democratic House Minority Leader Sal Pace wants to put the breaks on it (Pueblo Chieftain). Waller is eying the possible millions of dollars in savings to the state budget, and Pace is fretting over the possibility of lost jobs at the 485-bed prison, which has grappled with health hazards and financial problems.

Indeed, the loss of 240 jobs in the impoverished southern Colorado area could be “devastating,” KUNC reiterates. Governor John Hickenlooper apparently agrees after a tour of the facility Wednesday, saying he’ll reconsider but not necessarily reverse his decision to close the prison, pointing to a “disproportionate impact on the community” (Denver Post). Meanwhile, Westword notes a bill proposing to slash prison costs would work to remove some four in 10 prisoners who are either developmentally disabled or mentally ill from solitary confinement.

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