Governor Jindal's plan is to sell three state prisons for $85 million dollars to private companies. Winn, Allen and Avoyelles were built 22 years ago. The money received is to help balance the budget for one year.
As a district attorney, I find it to be poor planning to sell prison complexes to some unknown private corporation, who will then contract with the state at a higher daily rate than they are paying now. If a state prison is not performing, we make immediate changes. If a private prison does not perform, we have to proceed under the contract to determine how to adjust the problem or seek court remedies to interpret and enforce the terms of the contract.
If the contract is voided, will the company then house out-of-state inmates? What do we do with state inmates? We do not relieve ourselves of civil penalties or civil rights violations by contracting our duty to house inmates convicted of felonies.
As a former member of the House of Representatives, I was faced with many financial crises. We began a goal of building state buildings to house state offices in state-owned buildings in an effort to contain our cost. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent in an effort to prevent the state from paying rent to house agencies.
Are more state facilities on the auction block?
This will not save money. Any legitimate bidder will have to account in its rental costs to the state financing the $33 million to $35 million per prison, property taxes up to $800,000 per year, and capital improvements to be made over the 20-year period to maintain accreditation by ACA.
Charles Riddle III