Willow River Prison to Close at End of Year

WILLOW RIVER, Minn.– The Minnesota Department of Corrections announced yesterday that it’s going to close the prisons in Willow River and Togo as they try to stay afloat with huge budget shortfalls caused by the virus outbreak.

The department is facing a $14 million budget deficit that could grow to as much as $25 million over the next two fiscal years.

Closing the state’s two smallest prisons would save the DOC $11 million this year on top of more cuts from the department’s management team and central office.

With these cuts, 51 people at the Willow River Prison will lose their job and 82 inmates will need to be moved. DOC officials tell us they plan to close that site by the end of the year.

“We certainly had hoped that a supplemental budget would have been approved during the last special legislative session. But that didn’t happen,” said Minnesota Department of Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell. “Ultimately, in order to make sure that we’re meeting our obligation. We made the decision to make these cuts so that ultimately we balance a budget by the end of this fiscal year.”

Schnell says there are no plans to close any other facilities at this time.

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