JUNEAU, Alaska — The Alaska Department of Corrections recently changed private prison contractors and, as a result, will move 800 inmates from a privately owned penitentiary in Eloy, Ariz., to a facility located in Hudson, Colo., at the end of the year. In all, the ADC will house 1,000 inmates at the Hudson prison, with an 800-bed guarantee.
In August, the ADC announced it was terminating its $20 million-a-year private prison contract with Corrections Corporation of America, which it has dealt with for 15 years, for a new contract with Texas-based Cornell Companies. The state expects to save $6 per day per prison with the switch, for a total of $1.75 million in savings per year. The state already has a contract for six halfway houses with Cornell, including facilities in Nome and Anchorage.
Currently, prisoners held at the Red Rock Correctional Center in Arizona cost the state $65 per day per prisoner. At the Hudson Correctional Facility, the state pays $59 per day per prisoner. The prisoners will stay at the facility for three years until the 1,536-bed Goose Creek Correctional Center, located near Anchorage, Alaska, is completed. The Goose Creek facility will house all of Alaska’s out-of-state prisons when completed in 2012.
In February 2009, the ADC sent out letters to Western states and private contractors soliciting interest for its out-of-state prison contract. State prison officials said Cornell won the contract not only because of price but because the Hudson facilities’ programs closely resembled those that are planned for the Goose Creek penitentiary. Other finalists for the ADC’s bid were the states of Virginia and Minnesota.
The 1,250-bed Hudson facility is scheduled for completion this fall.
Once completed, the state will lease the Goose Creek prison from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough until the lease-revenue bonds used to build the facility are repaid after 25 years. The Goose Creek prison, located on the corner of Alsop and Point MacKenzie roads, is expected to employ 350 workers. Neeser Construction, Inc., of Anchorage, Alaska, was selected to design-build the $240 million medium-security prison located in Mat-Su Borough.
The Goose Creek Correctional Center will include 430,000-square-feet of buildings located on 135 acres. The facility will have five separate buildings: a support/visitation center, an outside administration unit, a warehouse, vehicle maintenance facility and, one of the largest buildings, a general housing structure.