South Carolina prison officials say they are closing another minimum-security prison, the fourth in as many years.
The state Department of Corrections announced Tuesday it will close the Catawba Pre-Release Center near Rock Hill next month. Catawba operates a work-release program, but the agency says there are fewer overall inmates who would be kept in minimum security. The prison opened in 1971 with an 188-inmate capacity. It currently houses 123.
Corrections Director Bryan Stirling told the Associated Press that sentencing reform since 2010 has led to fewer low-risk inmates in state custody, while work programs in other facilities lessened the need for Catawba.
Since 2014, the Corrections Department has closed other pre-release centers near Aiken, Columbia and North Charleston. Catawba’s three dozen officers and staff will be given the opportunity to work at other prisons. The officers will be sorely needed, as the Corrections Department has had trouble attracting and keeping enough officers to fill its needs.