CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A state Division of Corrections review team was impressed with what it saw when it recently toured a private prison in Kentucky interested in housing some West Virginia inmates.
State Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein told MetroNews Monday the tour and interview that happened a few days before Christmas at the Lee Adjustment Center in Beattyville, Ky., owned by Corrections Corporation of America went well.
“They (review team members) said it was a clean, well-run facility headed up by a warden who had retired from a state system. They were impressed with him and his knowledge,” Rubenstein said.
The state is looking at moving as many as 400 state inmates currently housed in regional jails to the out-of-state prison so the inmates can get the programs they need to have a better chance at parole. There’s no room for the inmates in West Virginia prisons where the programs are offered.
The information gathered by the review team will now be handed over to the state Division of Purchasing which will decide when a bid opening will take place. Rubenstein said it will be interesting to see how much CCA will propose charging West Virginia to keep its inmates.
“We’re looking forward to receiving the actual per-diem and see if it’s feasible to move forward,” Rubenstein said.
The state currently pays about $65.00 a day for each inmate housed in a state prison. Rubenstein said a bid price close to that would peak their interest.
“If it would be somewhere within what it costs us to do business,” he said.
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. The state constitution requires the inmates to give permission to be moved from the state in which they were convicted.
At times as many as 1,800 state prisoners are in regional jails.