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Lee County prison to reopen

(Image Source: MGN)
(Image Source: MGN)(KALB)
Published: Nov. 16, 2017 at 1:20 PM EST
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Kentucky is getting back into the private prison business.

State officials have signed a contract with CoreCivic to reopen the Lee Adjustment Center in Beattyville. The prison will house about 800 inmates currently housed at the Kentucky State Reformatory in La Grange.

CoreCivic is based in Nashville, Tennessee, and was previously known as Corrections Corporation of America. It once operated three prisons in Kentucky. But state officials closed the last of its private prisons in 2013 following years of problems, including allegations of sexual abuse and a prison riot in 2004.

The contract will cost taxpayers about $16.8 million a year. Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary John Tilley said that cost would be offset by the savings from closing much of the 80-year-old Kentucky State Reformatory.

In a release from the Justice & Public Safety Cabinet, aging facilities and a growing inmate population were mentioned as causes for the reopening.

“After a great deal of research, we believe this is the most responsible option to meet these challenges in the short run,” Secretary John C. Tilley said. “We’ve taken every possible step to ensure the safety of inmates and oversight of CoreCivic. In the meantime, we will continue pushing for reforms that improve public safety while lowering our prison numbers and reducing strains on the state budget.”