Justice and Public Safety Cabinet
Sec. Brown: First time in nearly 30 years Kentucky will have no inmates in private prisons
FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 25, 2013) – Justice and Public Safety Secretary J. Michael Brown today announced that the Kentucky Department of Corrections would not enter into a new contractual agreement with a private prison in Marion County when the current contract expires on Sunday.
The decision means that for the first time in nearly 30 years, Kentucky would have no inmates housed in private prisons.
“Through the collaborative efforts of administration officials, legislative leaders, and local communities, we have made real, sustained progress in reducing the number of inmates while better preparing those who are incarcerated to re-enter society,” Sec. Brown said. “This has created, for the first time in a generation, an opportunity to manage our inmate population with existing DOC facilities, county jails, and local halfway houses.”
Secretary Brown credited the bold policy changes contained in House Bill 463 from the 2011 legislative session with much of the progress in Kentucky’s criminal justice system. The law modernized Kentucky drug laws and reinvested a portion of the savings from reduced prison costs into drug treatment opportunities for offenders who need help.
The department has up to 120 days to move all inmates from Marion Adjustment Center (MAC) once its current contract expires. However, the exact transition schedule will be worked out between DOC and MAC’s parent company, Corrections Corporation of America.
MAC currently houses 794 inmates, including 232 secure custody inmates and 562 non-secure custody inmates. The department is preparing a transition plan to ensure that all inmates currently enrolled in a Substance Abuse Program (SAP) will either have completed the program prior to leaving MAC, or will be placed in a SAP elsewhere to ensure their treatment is uninterrupted.
This opportunity to ensure continued treatment is available through the recent expansion of SAP beds in the department’s facilities, local jails, and through community mental health center contracts that offer more flexibility in providing treatment.
“One of the major considerations in making this decision was whether we could continue to meet the treatment needs of inmates struggling with substance abuse issues, and that has been assured,” Brown said.
CCA will determine the next course of action for its facility and employees. If needed, employees of the private company will be assisted by a rapid response team from the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet and by the Personnel Cabinet in the application process for those seeking potential employment in state government.
It is estimated that inmates housed at MAC can be moved to other facilities available to DOC and county jails at an estimated savings of $1.5 to $2.5 million per year.
“The Department of Corrections continually reassesses its bed space needs, and this decision is further evidence of the department’s responsible and efficient use of state resources, as well as an indication that the reforms we’ve enacted over the past several years are working,” Brown said.