House Majority E-News for Mar 3, 2011 ANS Crude: $114.26 Henry Hub: $3.75: Keller Suggests Privatization of Goose Creek
Rep. Wes Keller (R-14)
Chair, (H) HSS Com.
Posted: March 3, 2011
(Juneau) - After listening to the comments made at Wednesday's Senate Finance Committee hearing on construction and operation of the Goose Creek Prison Complex in the Mat-Su, Rep. Wes Keller, R-Wasilla, believes there is an alternative not currently being considered: privatize the operation. There are approximately 264 privately-managed correctional facilities in the United States with nearly 99,000 adult offenders.
I believe the Mat-Su Borough and the State should sit down together and explore the possibility of a private corrections company leasing and operating the Goose Creek Correctional facility.
~ Rep. Wes Keller
"I believe the Mat-Su Borough and the State should sit down together and explore the possibility of a private corrections company leasing and operating the Goose Creek Correctional facility," Keller said. "Officials say twenty-two and a half-million dollars a year, to mothball a brand new building. We may not break even on those costs for a private operation but it will certainly be cheaper than $22.5-million for nothing. It may also bring back those Alaskans serving time in Colorado, which is also costing us more than $20-million a year. That may have a positive effect for options to reintroduce inmates back into society."
Keller acknowledges it is hard to establish if a private facility is more cost-effective than a government-managed prison. But he says today the issue is salvaging the potential loss to the state if Goose Creek is not opened. Estimates put operation of the remotely-located prison at more than $50-million a year. The facility could potentially house more than 1,500 inmates and bring all of the Alaskans currently in private prisons outside back to the state.