ROCK HILL, S.C. (AP/WIS) - South Carolina prison officials say they are closing a minimum-security prison that operates a work release program because it has fewer prisoners that fit into minimum security.
Corrections Director Bryan Stirling said Tuesday that the Catawba Pre-Release Center in Rock Hill will close next month.
Officials say the prison opened in 1970 with a capacity of 188 inmates and currently houses 123 prisoners.
Stirling says the state needs fewer minimum-security beds because of sentencing reform and programs in other prisons designed to give inmates skills to find work when they are released.
"This is a win for the state," Stirling said. 'This is going to be a savings of at least $200,000, maybe more depending on folks transferred out of institutions. But this institution only had about 64 percent of its beds being used. And we have other level ones that these folks will be going to. We're just not getting the number of inmates coming to the department of corrections, which is a good thing. Recidivism rate, which is people coming back to prison, is a lot lower."
Stirling said in a statement the 32 corrections officers and other employees will be offered jobs elsewhere in the state prison system.
South Carolina moved its death row back to Columbia last month to save money.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press and WIS. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.