Hinsdale second of three possible private prison sites

The town of Hinsdale in southwest New Hampshire has surfaced as a possible location for a privately built prison that would house all of New Hampshire’s inmates and perhaps those from neighboring states as well.Corrections Corporation of America — one of the three bidders on the state’s request for proposal to privatize the state’s prison system — has twice approached Hinsdale officials about the concept, telling them that a 193-acre site about two miles east of the Walmart on Route 119 is its top contender for a prison, the Brattleboro Reformer first reported on Tuesday and NHBR has confirmed in the town minutes.The nation’s largest prison corporation — a publicly traded company based in Nashville, Tenn. with $1.73 billion in revenue in 2011 — has not submitted a formal proposal to the town.It also has to beat out its competitors for a potential state contract to build a private prison in New Hampshire. (They are The GEO Group of Florida, Management & Training Corp. of Utah and LaSalle Corrections, in conjunction with The Hunt Companies of Texas.)The state Departments of Administrative Services and Corrections are currently evaluating the bids, and their recommendations still have to be approved by the Executive Council.The Hinsdale facility would be a $100 million to $120 million project that would house 1,500 to 2,000 inmates, replacing all prisoners now housed in Concord, CCA told the town officials.It could be larger than the minimum capacity required by the RFP — a facility that could house 1,500 men or a total of about 1,700 for a hybrid facility of men and women.CCA told Hinsdale officials it might expand the facility in the future to import prisoners from the rest of New England. Gov. John Lynch has gone on record saying he supports importing prisoners from other states.Hinsdale shares a border with Vermont, which currently exports inmates out of state, and its southern tip touches Massachusetts.The project should take two years to build and employ about 300 construction workers and another 250 to 300 full-time jobs after the facility is in place, according to the minutes.CCA told officials that the Hinsdale site is one of three it is considering, although it didn’t disclose the other two. The company told NHBR earlier that it would not discuss details about its proposal with the press, but according to planning board minutes in April, “they are not as far along in the process with the other locations as they are with Hinsdale.””They told us it was their leading site,” said Mike Darcy, a planning board member and selectman, who also listened to CCA’s first presentation to the board of selectmen in February.Residents in Manchester had previously protested a plan floated by a Management & Training Corp. consultant to build a $100 million prison on 100 acres of land in the Hackett Hill neighborhood in Manchester.But Hinsdale officials are trying to keep an open mind about the idea, said Darcy.”I haven’t heard a lot of negatives,” he said. “The initial reaction was, ‘Not in my backyard,’ but there is an opportunity for jobs and tax income as well. So there are pros to the proposal,” he said.Much of the site currently consists of a sand pit surrounded by woods, though there is a mobile home park nearby, Darcy said.In February, CCA told Hinsdale officials that it would work closely with local police, that it would pay for town infrastructure improvements (like water and sewer hookups) and that there would be no inmate work crews outside the facility. — BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

Categories: News