The Montana Department of Corrections has retracted its request for bids to build a new 120-bed medium security prison — just a week after originally saying the new multimillion dollar project was needed, reports the Great Falls Tribune. The agency said it decided to suspend the plans for a privately run correctional facility in order to better assess population trends. Last week, the agency unveiled its request for proposals asking companies to submit bids to build and operate a new facility. Corrections officials said at the time the new facility was specifically needed for inmates requiring assisted living help, very young adult inmates, and general medium security inmates.
But director Mike Ferriter said the proposal is being suspended for up to 90 days as the agency re-evaluates its needs. He said the agency’s focus on helping inmates return to society is expected to reduce the recidivism rate. “We are taking some additional time to observe fluctuating population figures and determine what effect they have on our future incarceration needs,” he said. Ferriter said he made the decision after consulting with the office of Gov. Brian Schweitzer.