Budget shortfall may shut down two SC prisons

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- A Senate leader says South Carolina might be forced to close two minimum-security prisons if state officials don't allow the prisons agency to run a deficit.

Corrections Committee Chairman Mike Fair of Greenville said Thursday he would prefer the Budget and Control Board allow the prisons to run a $7 million deficit.

The five-member board is led by Gov. Nikki Haley and votes next week whether to allow three Cabinet agencies to operate in the red through June 30.

Fair says the alternative he has discussed with senators and the agency's former leader is for the Corrections Department to release about 1,200 nonviolent prisoners up to six months early. That would require a massive reshuffling of prisoners and could take a year.

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