BEEVILLE, Texas — Texas will close two of its more than 100 state prisons amid a yearslong decline in the incarcerated population and serious understaffing at some facilities, officials said Thursday.
The closures of a prison in South Texas and another in suburban Houston will result in annual savings of about $20 million, according to the office of state Sen. John Whitmire, who heads the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.
"There's not going to be enough money to go around to purchase shoes, cars, coats, clothing, meals on down the line, it has a domino effect," Beeville City Manager Joe B. Montez said.
Beeville was in a similar situation back in 1992, when Chase Field, a Navy Base in Beeville, was closed by the government and hundreds of people lost their jobs.
"Approximately 3,000 direct jobs when the Navy left and about a couple a thousand, indirect jobs," Montez said.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice says they're making sure prison staff won't be left empty-handed.
"We anticipate that all employees at both of these units will be able to be relocated to other units within 30 miles of their current work location," said Jeremy Desel, Director of Communications.
According to Montez, with or without the prison his main priority remains the same: helping the people of Beeville.
"We just have to put our heads together and do what's best for the community. Beeville is a resiliant community, we have strong people, and we will survive," Montez said.
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