Local News

Future of Trinidad Correctional Facility Discussed

TRINIDAD, CO - The Trinidad Correctional Facility is being studied to determine whether or not it should remain open.

State leaders hired CNA Survey team to conduct a study on all state prison facilities.
Representatives from the survey team said there is a decline in inmate population in the state.

An open forum was held Wednesday afternoon in the Las Animas Courthouse to discuss the study.

The survey will look at,  staffing, the facility and the economic impact it has on the community.

Residents said it should not close. Many fear the unemployment rate in their community will go up. The facility employs more than 150 people.

Some said the prison crews actually do a lot of work throughout the city, like welding, and cement work.

Other fear the loss of jobs will even affect the local schools. Some said several parents are employed at the Trinidad Correctional Facility, and they will be forced to move their children out of the local school system if they lose their jobs.

Several people came to the open forum, including a former Department of Corrections employee.

"My wife is still working there. We bought a house in Trinidad. If the facility shuts down, we won't be able to live on my retirement," said Joel Westbrook.

City and County leaders also spoke out about the issue.

"I kind of get the feeling they are picking on us. We are one of the newer prisons, I hope that in itself is a reason to keep it open," said Las Animas County Commissioner Gary Hill.

The facility opened in 2001.

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