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The state prison that holds the death chamber in Arizona is closing

The Arizona prison that holds the state’s death chamber will be closed in a cost-cutting move.

Gov. Doug Ducey announced the closure of a state prison during his annual State of the State address to lawmakers Monday. A press release from his office said Florence Prison would be closed.

By shutting down the prison and transferring inmates to different facilities the state will save hundreds of millions of dollars over the next three years, the release from the governor’s office said.

“It will enhance safety at our remaining facilities and save taxpayers $274 million over the next three years,” Ducey told lawmakers in Phoenix, according to a transcript of the speech provided by the governor’s office.

Staff employed at Florence will also be relocated to work at the Eyman prison complex just three miles away, the release said.

Male death row inmates in Arizona are currently split between the Florence and Eyman facilities, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections.

Inmates who are currently incarcerated at Florence Prison will be relocated to a combination of county corrections facilities and third-party operators, according to the release.

Florence Prison was built by inmates in 1908 as a replacement for the old Territorial Prison at Yuma, the department of corrections website said. The original prison included a death chamber with a trap door where the bodies of those hanged would fall into a room below, according to the website.

It is not clear where executions will take place after Florence Prison is closed. The last execution that took place in Arizona was in 2014, when it took 15 lethal injection doses over the course of two hours before Joseph Wood was pronounced dead.

Wood was convicted of murder and assault in the 1989 deaths of his estranged girlfriend and her father.



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