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Legislators work to keep Riverview prison open

RIVERVIEW -- As state officials walked past the prison's field, several dozen women in blue uniforms formed a circle in the distance.

The women gather at the same time every day, and though Rep. Rich Glorioso, R-Plant City, couldn't hear the words, he knew why they congregated:

To pray that their prison be saved. To pray that even though the state has designated the women's faith- and character-based prison for closure, that someone finds a way.

"It's hope," Glorioso said. "Everybody has to have hope."

On Friday, the lawmaker, several political aides and Hillsborough officials toured the Riverview prison, led by several Department of Corrections officials.

Department Secretary Ken Tucker has said an excess of prison beds statewide makes closures unavoidable, and Hillsborough Correctional Institution is particularly expensive, according to the department. It's at the top of the agency's list of seven prison closures.

Story here.

-- Jessica Vander Velde, Times staff writer

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