Private prison company to house 700 Vermont inmates

01/02/04 12:00AM By John Dillon
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(Host) The state of Vermont has signed a contract with a private prison company to house up to 700 inmates in Tennessee and Kentucky.

VPR's John Dillon reports:


(Dillon) Corrections Corporation of America - the country's largest operator of private prisons - was the low bidder for the state contract. The Vermonters will be moved from a state-run jail in Virginia next month to the private facilities in Kentucky and Tennessee.

Corrections Commissioner Steve Gold says the move will save the state money, since Corrections Corporation of America charges about $5 less per bed per day than Virginia does. About 450 Vermonters are now at the Virginia jail, but Gold says he hopes 50 to 100 inmates will soon return to Vermont.

(Gold) "The contract provides up to 700 offenders but my hope and my goal really is to eliminate the need for any Vermonters having to go out of state while they are incarcerated. But at the present time we will need to use some out of state beds."

(Dillon) This is the first time the state has used a private prison company to relieve overcrowding in Vermont jails. The private prison option was authorized by the Legislature earlier this year. The state will pay Corrections Corporation $42 per inmate per day for the Kentucky facility and $43 in Tennessee. Gold says that no government entities - including the state of Virginia - bid on the Vermont prison contract.

For Vermont Public Radio, I'm John Dillon.
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