Troup Co. set to close prison; 73 employees laid off

TROUP COUNTY, GA (WTVM) - Troup County Board of Commissions votes to lay off 73 employees and close the Troup County Correctional Institute to give county employees a pay increase.

"We had to make cuts in order to pay for proper wages for employees," says Division Director of Public Services Dexter Wells.

Cutting the prison and work release is expected to save the county $1.57 million.

"We're closing the correctional institution because of the increase cost in housing inmates. The per diem we get from the state is at $20 per inmate it's been at $20 the last time it was raised was 1999," says Wells.

The Department of Correction houses 274 inmates and around 50 county inmates. The county inmates will still be under the county, however, the state inmates will go back to the state and be dispersed to other institutes.

The work release program falls under this cut, but county officials say they are working to start a new work release and work detail program under the sheriff's department.

"We are looking at 40 inmates versus 200 work in the community, it is a big change but like I said the cost to house inmates has gone up the per diem from the state has not," says Wells.

County officials say a completed pay study shows the county had a problem keeping employees due to low salaries.

"We have a retention problem in about every department in the county… we needed to rectify that in order to get a stable workforce," says Wells.

Wells says the Board of Commissions had a difficult decision to make, but they think this is the best move moving forward.

County officials say they are meeting with the Department of Corrections Monday to place employees that worked with the Troup County Correctional Institute in a job.

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