CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Division of Corrections says a Kentucky-based company submitted the lone bid Thursday to house up to 400 West Virginia inmates who are currently housed in regional jails.
Corrections Corporation of America was one of two companies who were part of the mandatory pre-bid conference earlier this year but the only one to submit a bid Thursday.
CCA has a prison in Beattyville, Ky., and its bid said it would house the West Virginia inmates at the Lee Adjustment Center.
West Virginia Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein said the bid is being reviewed to see if it’s fiscally responsible for the state. If so, Rubenstein said such a deal would be a great advantage for state prison inmates who can’t get the programs they need to be paroled while sitting in regional jails.
“All things being equal they’ll have been able to take care of a lot of if not all of their requirements, which should make them a very good candidate for parole if they’ve kept their nose clean and done what they are supposed to do,” he said.
At times as many as 1,800 state prisoners are in regional jails because there’s no room for them in state prisons. It’s a costly set-up for the Division of Corrections. Rubenstein believes money can be saved by sending up to 400 inmates out of state. He said they would have a better chance at parole the first time around if they can get the programs they need.
Rubenstein said the ideal population to go to another state is made up of minimum security inmates who have been sentenced to 1-to-3 or 1-to-5 year prison terms.
“We would like to move them into a facility where they are immediately trying to prepare themselves to see the parole board,” he said.
The state constitution requires the inmates to give permission to be moved from the state in which they were convicted. Rubenstein said some of the inmates are excited about the possibility.
“We’ve received calls from family members and letters from some of the inmates that say, ‘Hey, I want to let you know that I’m volunteering right now,’” Rubenstein said.