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State To Move Prisoners To Expanded Private Facility

Prison cell
(Photo courtesy of Arizona Department of Corrections)

Arizona is relying on a new expansion of a private prison in Eloy to relieve overcrowding at its other facilities. The state will begin to transfer medium security inmates to the Red Rock Correctional Center this week.

Red Rock, which is owned by the private prison company Corrections Corporation of America, recently completed a $40 million project that includes a new dormitory and renovated cells. Andrew Wilder with the Department of Corrections said the additional space was needed.

“The department welcomes having these additional beds available in order for the state to meet projected growth in the number of inmates that are sent to state prison by the courts and ease the reliance on temporary beds to address overcrowding," Wilder said.

Wilder said current growth projections have the DOC taking in an additional 75 prisoners a month. He said handling the influx with temporary beds at other state facilities is just that – a temporary fix.

“Ultimately you don’t want to add too many because it can mess with the staff ratio which you really don’t want to go beyond certain amounts in order to maintain safe and secure operations,” Wilder said.

The prisoners will be transferred to the facility at a rate of about 50 a week through January. The state will pay CCA $66 per inmate per day and guarantee a 90 percent occupancy. Wilder said that won’t be an issue because all 1,000 beds are already spoken for.  Funding for the additional thousand beds was approved by the legislature last year.       

Jimmy Jenkins was a producer and senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2014 to 2021.