After months of discussion and speculation, Ohio sold one prison, not five, to a private operator, adding $72.7 million to state coffers instead of $200 million, reports the Columbus Dispatch. The Kasich administration seemed satisfied and the union representing state employees was relieved. The administration said the deal will save $13 million in annual operating costs overall and add 702 prison beds to help ease a critical overcrowding problem. The end result will be three privately operated prisons, one more than now.
Earlier this year, Gov. Kasich proposed selling five prisons to help ease an $8 billion budget deficit. By the time the two-year, $55.8 billion budget was finalized, the revenue projection had dropped to $50 million. In the end, the Lake Erie Correctional Institution was sold to the Corrections Corporation of America, for $72.7 million. The company will operate the prison at 8 percent less than the state, saving $3 million annually. The state will pay the company $44.25 per day to house, feed, clothe and provide programs for each inmate and will pay a $3.8 million annual “ownership fee” to cover maintenance expenses.