The Latest: Kansas legislative panel won't back prison plan
The Latest on Kansas' plan to have the largest private prison operator in the U.S. build a new prison for the state (all times local):
A Kansas legislative committee won't endorse a plan from state corrections officials to build a new prison mainly because of how the project would be financed.
The state Department of Corrections outlined its plan Thursday to have the nation's largest private prison operator build a replacement for the state's oldest and largest prison in Lansing, which is near Kansas City.
CoreCivic, based in Nashville, Tennessee, would lease the new prison to the state for 20 years before the state owned it.
The legislative committee wants the department to pursue financing the project with state bonds instead.
The committee's recommendation to delay the project will go to top legislative leaders and Republican Gov. Sam Brownback. State law gives them the final say on whether the project moves forward.
Kansas legislators in both parties have misgivings about a plan to have the nation's largest private prison operator build a new correctional facility for the state.
The plan outlined Thursday by the state Department of Corrections would replace the state's oldest and largest prison in Lansing, which is near Kansas City.
CoreCivic, which is based in Nashville, Tennessee, would build the $170 million prison. The state would pay for the project by leasing the new facility over 20 years.
Democratic state Sen. Laura Kelly, of Topeka, questioned whether the arrangement is the most cost-effective for the state.
Republican state Rep. J.R. Claeys (CLAYS), of Salina, questioned why the department didn't consider other potential sites.
Legislative leaders and the governor would have to approve the proposal next month for it to proceed.
Kansas plans to have the biggest private prison company in the U.S. build a replacement for the state's oldest and largest correctional facility.
The state hopes to pay for the project in Lansing in the Kansas City area by leasing the new prison from Nashville-based CoreCivic for 20 years.
The state Department of Corrections announced Thursday that it selected CoreCivic as its contractor for the new prison for 2,400 inmates in Lansing.
Parts of the existing prison date to the 1860s. Corrections officials contend a modern facility will be safer while operating with 46 percent fewer employees.
CoreCivic owns, controls or manages more than 80 facilities in 20 states and the District of Columbia. It has been the subject of lawsuits and critical audits in six states, including Kansas.