BY JIM DOOLEY – The state has signed a new, three-year contract with Corrections Corporation of America to house up to 1,900 prison inmates at private prisons in Arizona.
The price carries a one per cent increase over the curent contract with CCA, which expires at the end of the month. The Department of Public Safety will pay CCA $63.85 per inmate per day. The old rate was $63.22.
CCA is believed to have submitted the sole bid for the contract.
The new deal, which carries two possible one-year contract extensions, was signed as Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s administration is making plans to end the longstanding policy of imprisoning Hawaii inmates in out-of-state facilities.
Public Safety officials are drawing up a plan for the return of out-of-state prisoners, but its completion is sometime in the future and will depend on construction of new correctional facilities here and development of new community-based programs for men and women now locked behind bars.
The Hawaii State Auditor said in a report issued late last year the total cost of the private prison program
more than tripled since 2001, from just under $20 million to more than $60 million.
The per-day charges under the new contract would total some $44.3 million, although there are millions the state must pay in associated costs which the contract with CCA doesn’t cover.
The actual number of Hawaii inmates now held at CCA’s Saguaro Correctional Facility in Eloy, Arizona is now believed to have dropped under 1,800 as the state has stepped up efforts to bring certain categories of prisoners home.
Some 60 Hawaii inmates are also being held at CCA’s Red Rock Correctional Facility, next door to the Saguaro complex.