STATE FARM, Va. — The Virginia Department of Corrections announced this week that it will close the James River Correctional Center in Goochland County on April 1.
The closure of the state’s oldest prison, which opened in 1896, comes as the department grapples with $10.9 million in funding cuts for fiscal 2012.
James River’s 450 inmates will be moved to other prisons that have space, as well as to county jails. The Corrections Department currently contracts with counties to hold inmates due to overcrowding in state prisons.
It is unknown whether the facility’s 160 employees will lose their jobs although the county’s Board of Supervisors stated no job cuts are expected.
The James River Work Center, located next to the prison, and the prison system’s dairy operation and other agribusiness operations there will remain open.
The department owns 4,051 acres on both sides of the James River in Goochland and Powhatan counties. The James River Correctional Center sits on 1,202 acres on the Goochland side of the river along with the work center and a training academy.
So far, the state has no plans to sell any of the property.
The agribusiness operations are expected to continue because they are cost-efficient and provide services to the department statewide.
The retired Thoroughbred horse care program for inmates will continue to operate out of the work center, which will remain open.
The Pen Pals program that teaches inmates how to train dogs will continue at other prisons.