By Linda Kor
The prison contract that Winslow officials were hopeful of obtaining that would have brought 120 con-struction jobs and 130 permanent jobs was awarded last week to a firm with an existing prison in Eloy. The Arizona Department of Corrections awarded the 1,000-bed contract to Corrections Corporation of America last week, which will house medium security male prisoners in a facility about 60 miles north of Phoenix.
“This is a real blow. As a community we were very hopeful for the contract and the jobs it would have pro-vided,” stated City Attorney Dale Patton. No one at the city has been officially notified of the contract selec-tion, and Patton doesn’t expect that they will be. “I learned about it on the Internet and I don’t expect we’ll be hearing from anyone regarding this,” he said.
LaSalle Corrections Company had placed a bid with the Department of Corrections for a facility in Win-slow as one of six companies vying for the contract.
A Quaker group, American Friends Service Committee, voiced strong opposition to a private prison believ-ing the private prison system to be costly and the extra beds unnecessary. That argument gained credence when the state acknowledged that growth in the overall prison population had dropped and scrapped the original bid for a 5,000-bed contract in 2009.
According to Patton, with the contract going to CCA, the city will look to other projects to provide em-ployment, such as Pioneer Forest Products. Patton was told the firm will begin construction on its wood prod-uct facility near the Winslow airport after the first of the year.
By Linda Kor