LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — Leavenworth Mayor Pro-Tem Mark Preisinger and Leavenworth City Manager Scott Miller recently made a trip to Washington, D.C. to meet with federal legislators from Kansas about funding of a new federal prison in Leavenworth. Preisinger and Miller met with Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran and U.S. Representatives Lynn Jenkins and Kevin Yoder on March 25 and 26.
Construction on a new prison adjacent to the existing U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth has been a priority for the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) for several years, reported the Leavenworth Times, but construction funding has still yet to be allocated. The new prison and additional camp facility would cost about $350 million and would add about 1,400 prison beds.
Congress previously funded an environmental impact study for the proposed new prison, and the study did not bring up any major issues against construction. However, the study’s findings will require new research after Dec. 31, 2015, which is why Leavenworth officials want to move ahead with the project as soon as possible.
After Preisinger and Miller met with Jenkins, the congresswoman sent a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies. While the letter does not specifically mention the Leavenworth prison project, Jenkins indicated that she supports funding for the BOP's Building and Facilities Appropriations Account in the amount of $350 million for FY 2015.
“Prison overcrowding in our federal institutions has a negative effect on wardens, corrections officers and inmates alike,” Jenkins wrote. “Because the Building and Facilities Appropriations account has not received funds for several years, no new construction is currently being undertaken. I believe that it is prudent to make an investment in new facilities to alleviate the current problems the Bureau of Prisons is facing.”
The letter is the first major course of action in favor of the project since city began pushing the issue more than three years ago.