DALLAS (AP) – Texas will close two of its more than 100 state prisons amid a yearslong decline in the incarcerated population and serious understaffing at some facilities.

State Sen. John Whitmire on Thursday announced the planned closure of a South Texas prison and another outside Houston. Whitmire’s office says the closures will save Texas about $20 million a year.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice Executive Director Bryan Collier says the agency can shutter the prisons “without negatively affecting public safety or causing any loss of jobs.”

Texas’ prison population has fallen by more than 10,000 over the last decade. Criminal justice reform advocates have applauded the planned closures.

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