State wide budget cutbacks are affecting all departments of the state budget.  One of particular concern to Chattooga County residents is the budget for the Georgia Department of Corrections.

Newly appointed Commissioner of Corrections Brian Owens told AM 1180 Chattooga County radio recently that the security at Hays State Prison will be one of his top priorities as commissioner.  Many Chattooga County residents believe that budget cuts at the prison lead to the escape of two inmates from Hays Prison in October, one of which has never been re-captured.

Although there is little doubt that the prison and the hundreds of jobs that it provides for Chattooga County will remain open, it is possible one of the life-saving benefits the prison provides could be in danger of being cut out.

Hays Prison Fire Department provides a much needed service to the rural areas of Chattooga County.  According to published reports, State Representative Barbara Massey Reece of Menlo said that there is the possibility the prison fire department could be cut out of the state budget.  Reece said that while the importance of the prison fire department can’t be underestimated, providing rural fire protection is not one of the core missions of the Department of Corrections.