State Prison May Remain Open

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A state prison that lawmakers voted to close last year would remain open under Gov. Mike Johanns' budget.

Johanns included $7.3 million in his budget released Thursday to keep the Lincoln Correctional Center running.

The closing was approved last session by the Legislature as part of massive budget cuts.

The closing is set for Oct. 1, 2004, but lawmakers are expected to revisit the issue.

In a pre-session Associated Press survey, 22 lawmakers said they opposed closing the prison. Seven others said they were leaning that way.

Only three senators said they supported closing the prison, while 10 said they were leaning that way.

Senator Dwite Pedersen of Elkhorn proposed the closure.

He said it is a good idea because it would save the state money and force up to 500 inmates already eligible for parole to be released early.