The State of Kentucky is withdrawing from the private sector of inmate facilities. On Tuesday, the state announced they are not renewing their contract with the privately-owned prison giant, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), for the upcoming year.
Once the contract expires on Sunday, the state will have 120 days to transfer nearly 800 inmates housed at the Marion Adjustment Center in Marion County, Kentucky to other facilities, including state prisons, county jails, or halfway houses. According to a spokesman for the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, the state inmates will be sent to an appropriate facility based on their needs and bed availability.
The move from the Marion Adjustment Center to state correctional facilities is estimated to save Kentucky anywhere from $1.5 million to $2.5 million each year.
For the first time in nearly 30 years Kentucky will have no inmates housed in private prisons. The disbandment of the Marion Adjustment Center was the last step for Kentucky in the push for public prison facilities. Since 2008, the state has pulled out of two other inmate facilities run by the CCA, including the Lee Adjustment Center, an 800-bed facility, and the Otter Creek Correctional Center, a 600-bed facility.
J. Michael Brown, the state Justice and Public Safety secretary, said in a press release, “This has created, for the first time in a generation, an opportunity to manage our inmate population with existing DOC (Department of Corrections) facilities, county jails and local halfway houses.”
The state has seen a large improvement in the inmate population; numbers have dropped from 22,102 to 20,591 in less than a year. The Kentucky Department of Corrections intends to continue this trend by preparing a plan to allow inmates currently in the Substance Abuse Program to finish their program elsewhere.
Sara Papantonio is a writer and researcher for Ring of Fire.