AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) _ The Federal Bureau of Prisons will close its detention center at Fort Gordon in late March or early April, the warden said Thursday.

The center at the Army post near Augusta holds 161 of the Cuban detainees who were moved from Atlanta's federal penitentiary after riots there in November. Warden Charles Crandell said the contract between the prison bureau and the Department of the Army is about to expire.

Prisoners who do not have release papers by the time the center is closed will be transferred, he said.

Seven detainees were moved Wednesday to two undisclosed prisons as a first step toward freedom, according to Bureau of Prisons and base officials.

An INS panel in Lompoc, Calif., had recommended release for 80 percent to 90 percent of the detainees at Fort Gordon. Immigration officials in Washington will make the final decision.