Hardin Jail Closes Due to Lack of Prisoners

The 464-bed facility has been struggling for years

By Dillon Tabish

HARDIN — A private prison in Hardin has suspended operations due to a lack of inmates.

The Billings Gazette reports that the Two Rivers Regional Detention Center stopped holding prisoners on April 13. Warden Ken Keller says employees were sent home and only Keller and his program manager are still in the building.

The 464-bed facility has been struggling for years. Last fall, the Bureau of Indian Affairs cut its contract with the prison. Many employees were furloughed in January but a few inmates remained in the center from small contracts with individual tribes and with Williams County, North Dakota.

The prison is paid on a per-inmate, per-day basis through contracts. With empty beds, the facility acquired debt that reached as much as $40 million in December.