The Red Rock Correctional Center, Arizona's newest private prison, will begin housing inmates next month, with taxpayers guaranteeing its owner a profit to help alleviate overcrowding in the state penitentiary system, the Arizona Republic reports. State Corrections Director Charles Ryan hopes to house up to 1,000 inmates there by the end of next year — twice the number originally planned in the first year. The facility has the capacity for 1,596 inmates.
The complex 65 miles south of Phoenix was built in 2006 by Corrections Corporation of America to house California inmates. After CCA won a contract last year to house Arizona inmates, it moved its California prisoners to other CCA sites. Arizona facilities have 5,000 inmates in temporary beds because of overcrowding. Arizona has 41,157 inmates, about one-sixth of them in private facilities. Corrections officials forecast the state prison population will top 43,000 in fiscal 2016, despite four recent years of relatively little growth or declines in the population. CCA is guaranteed a 90 percent occupancy rate at Red Rock, meaning the state will transfer inmates out of state-operated facilities and into the private prison until the minimum occupancy is met.