Arizona legislators appear close to allowing the state corrections department to compete for the 1,600-prison-bed construction contract, the Arizona Republic reports. “If we are going to seek permanent or temporary beds, we should not artificially limit that to public only or private only,” said Senate President Ken Bennett.
A version of the bill that passed the House on Monday, instructed the state to seek private bids. Corrections Director Dora Schriro says her department saves the state money over private firms. The compromise would enlist an independent entity to evaluate the bids to make sure they are fair and equivalent.
An aide to Gov. Janet Napolitano, said she wants to see the number of temporary beds increased from 1,400 to 2,100 for an additional cost of $5 million, and another $5 million added to provide incentives for understaffed correctional officers.