Representative open to privatizing prison

Posted: Sunday, March 06, 2011

JUNEAU — An Alaska state lawmaker says he would support privatizing a soon-to-be-completed prison.

In a statement, Republican Rep. Wes Keller of Wasilla says privatizing the Goose Creek Correctional Center is a more cost-efficient option compared to mothballing the prison before it opens.

Keller says he does not know if privatizing the facility would be less expensive than the expected $50 million yearly cost of state operation of the prison, but hopes operating the prison would allow Alaska prisoners currently incarcerated in Colorado to return to the state.

Keller says he is reacting to a recent Senate Finance Committee hearing where lawmakers discussed saving money by mothballing the prison.

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough says the medium-security prison, located in Port Mackenzie, would house over 1,500 inmates when opened in June 2012.

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