What to do with Missouri’s abandoned prisons? One lawmaker has an answer | Politics

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At the abandoned Central Missouri Correctional Center, the state has converted a farm portion of the facility into a conservation area in the bottomlands of the Missouri River valley.

Up top, however, a mix of prison buildings — from cellblocks to cafeterias — sit empty. Some graffiti has appeared on the walls, but the facility remains mostly intact.

At the Crossroads Correctional Center, Railsback praised plans by Gov. Mike Parson to convert a portion of the facility into a training center for prison guards.

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But even that plan is slow in coming.

Parson asked for more than $650,000 last year to start the training grounds, but the plan has not gotten off the ground, said Missouri Department of Corrections spokeswoman Karen Pojmann.

Even if the facility does begin operating, Railsback said there are other potential uses for the sprawling site.

“It has lots of unused buildings,” Railsback told members of the House Corrections and Public Institutions Committee.

Among potential uses under consideration is a regional county jail or as a site to film prison scenes.

“We need to do something,” Railsback said. “You’re not going to change a prison into a motel.”

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