COLUMBUS: Ohio's prisons department is moving forward with its plan to sell five state prisons to private operators.
The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction began the bidding process for the facilities on Friday. The sale could generate $200 million for the state at a time it's facing an estimated $8 billion budget shortfall.
Department spokesman Carlo LoParo says about 767 state prison workers should be expecting layoff notices from the sale of the Grafton Correctional Institution in Grafton and North Central Correctional Institution in Marion. Buyers would have to give preference to existing employees when hiring.
The sale includes two privately-run facilities: North Coast Correctional Treatment Facility, also in Grafton, and Lake Erie Correctional Institution in Conneaut. That's in addition to a juvenile prison in Marion that closed in 2009.