MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Department of Corrections says it is taking the “immensely difficult” action to close two of the state’s smallest prisons due to a substantial budget crisis.

According to corrections officials, the two correctional facilities that will be closed are located in Togo and Willow River. Staff and legislative leaders were notified Monday.

Corrections officials say the decision comes after the legislature adjourned from a recent special session without addressing the agency’s supplemental budget request, due to a budget deficiency of around $14 million for the fiscal year. The next biennium’s budget deficiency is expected to be even more substantial at a projected $25 million.

There are 48 full-time employees at the Togo location and 51 at Willow River. Most positions are expected to be eliminated, but some will be retained to support continued operation of the Challenge Incarceration Program (CIP) at other existing minimum custody prison sites.

The corrections department says there will also be additional reductions in the commissioner’s office personnel and central administrative services.

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