Two years ago, Hardin, Mt. (pop. 3,600) celebrated the completion of a $27 million state-of-the-art private Two Rivers Detention Facility for 464 inmates. Convinced that it would provide employment for more than 100 people and a steady source of municipal income, Hardin and a neighboring town issued revenue bonds to finance its construction and turned it over to a for-profit prison-management corporation, reports Time magazine.
Two Rivers remains empty; its $27 million in bonds went into default a year ago. Now the town has offered the facility to house detainees from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Says Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), “I understand the need to create jobs, but we’re not going to bring al-Qaeda to Big Sky Country–no way, not on my watch.” Meanwhile, the closest lockup, Big Horn County Jail, is so overcrowded that it turns away misdemeanor offenders.