FREMONT COUNTY - Lawmakers say right now there's no money available in the state's budget to fund a new maximum-security prison.
The East Canon City Correctional Facility is scheduled to open in July of 2010. It will house 948 inmates and will require around 500 employees.
"We are going to have to really work to find the money to staff this facility," State Representative Buffie McFadyen, D-Pueblo West says.
Representative McFadyen toured the facility for the first time Thursday. It's just east of the Canon City Women's Correctional Facility, scheduled to close at the end of May.
"We're in a budget crisis and we know in our state legislature, anywhere else in the community where the economy falls, we know we have an influx of people who commit felonies."
McFadyen says in Colorado, fewer women are going to prison, but the number of male offenders is steady. The new facility would house some of the state's most dangerous male criminals.
"It's going to be a lot of pressure on the legislature to find the finances to staff this facility."
The prison, just off Highway 50, sits on a 56-acre site and will provide state of the art security. McFadyen is optimistic the money will come in time for the July 2010 opening date.
Earlier in the day, McFadyen toured the Canon City Women's Correctional Facility, just west of the new prison under construction. On Thursday, the facility's 92 employees learned they would be able to stay in the Canon City area. The facility's 200 female inmates will be placed in other facilities. There's still no word on what will happen to the building once it is closed.