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Corrections Corporation of America Message Board

  • princessalouie princessalouie Dec 8, 2004 5:26 PM Flag

    Speaking of that KY Prison, Part 1

    Privatizing Elliott prison called illegal
    Opinion issued as state reviews bids
    By Mark Pitsch
    The Courier-Journal

    Gov. Ernie Fletcher would break Kentucky law by allowing a company to operate a $92million prison that the state is building in Elliott County, the attorney general said yesterday.

    A prison built with state money cannot be privatized, and private prisons are restricted to counties with a strong police presence, which Elliott County lacks, according to the opinion from Attorney General Greg Stumbo's office.

    The opinion, written by Deputy Attorney General Pierce Whites, was issued as state officials were reviewing bids from companies that want to operate the 961-bed prison.

    The administration had planned to issue a contract by the end of the month, but a Fletcher spokesman said they have not decided whether to honor the opinion but will continue to review bids.

    "This is just a way to make sure all of the options are explored to give maximum value to the taxpayers," spokesman Doug Hogan said.

    "We don't think it's appropriate for the adult correctional facility to be built with taxpayer money and turned over to a private company, and that's why the statute was written the way it was," Whites said in an interview.

    Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, said the state should privatize the prison and disregard the opinion.

    "It has no weight of law whatsoever," said Williams, an attorney.

    Rep. Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, whose district includes the prison and who asked for the opinion, said he hoped Fletcher would stop the effort.

    "I think it confirms what I have felt all along and what the statute clearly says: The state cannot privatize a correctional facility unless a company establishes that facility," Adkins said.

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