Baldwin prison to close by May 1

ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Corrections has made it official: Bostick State Prison in Baldwin County, already tabbed for closure, will shut down by May 1.

The 700-bed facility is a 1950s-era dormitory that was converted for prison use in 1987. It lacks the safety features of other state prisons, requires more staff and is more expensive to run, the department said.

The department expects to save about $6.7 million a year by closing the prison, and its shutdown already is written into the state budget, which is working its way through the Georgia General Assembly. That budget can always change, but there’s no expectation that Bostick will be written back into the budget.

“The door is definitely closing,” department spokeswoman Kristen Stancil said this afternoon.

“I don’t even know if the prison would see a glimmer of hope there at this point.”

The prison’s 131 staffers will be offered positions at other state facilities, the department said in a news release. Most of those jobs will be within a 50-mile radius of Bostick, the release states.

Baldwin County is home to several state prisons, but many have had the same basic design problems as Bostick.

Already Scott and River’s prisons have closed, and Men’s is scheduled to close as well.

But there are plans to build a new, private prison adjacent to Bostick.

State officials have said construction on that 1,000-bed facility should begin soon, and that it could be open in a year or so.

To contact writer Travis Fain, call 361-2702.