Approximately 100 citizens attend public meeting addressing possible prison in Winslow

LaSalle Corrections Corp., city of Winslow and state of Arizona gather representatives to assess LaSalle's proposal

Chuck Ryan, Director of Corrections for the state of Arizona, addresses Winslow’s citizens.

Chuck Ryan, Director of Corrections for the state of Arizona, addresses Winslow’s citizens.

WINSLOW, Ariz. - The second public meeting regarding establishing a privately run medium security prison in Winslow, next to the existing state prison, was held at Winslow High School Aug.16. The number of citizens attending was less than the first meeting on this issue, with approximately 100 in attendance.

LaSalle Corrections Corp. and the city of Winslow had about a dozen proponents on the stage and the state of Arizona had about six representatives assessing the LaSalle proposal and the public input thereof.

Chuck Ryan, director of corrections for Arizona and past warden of the state prison in Winslow, was the moderator. Clay McConnell represented LaSalle Corrections and presented the LaSalle proposal.

Below is their specific proposal as outlined in a press release:

• Permanent jobs created is estimated at 230, including 50-plus administration/support personnel, 160 security and a medical staff of nearly 20.

• Construction of the prison would create more than 100 jobs for local trades on the $40-plus million construction contract.

• Potential benefits to the local economy include an increase of retail sales, increase of service, jobs, increase of sales tax revenue and new housing for increased residents. Effects on the community include new residents, new students, more visitors, increased use of medical services and boost to existing businesses.

• Project timeline - Project would be awarded by Sept. 1; project design would be complete by November; construction would start in December; owner would move in November 2013; interviews and hiring would be done in October 2012; and inmates would arrive Jan. 1, 2014.

According to the news release, public safety is the number one mission of this facility, and the design will implement the latest in security procedures and technology to ensure that all stakeholders, foremost the public, will be safeguarded and served at all times. Additionally, the design of this facility employs highly sustainable principles including water conservation, reduced lighting requirements, low energy usage and minimal paving, meaning that this complex will be a good neighbor to Winslow while minimizing any negative burden on the city's resources.

Furthermore, the placement of this new facility adjacent to the existing state prison will have a profound economic impact to the city of Winslow, in terms of immediate construction opportunities for contractors and tradesmen, as well as long-term job opportunities for staff and expansion opportunities for businesses and institutions in the community.

Designed with an internal campus layout, the proposed facility is made up of eight separate buildings each serving a specific purpose, as follows: the four housing buildings are made up of two 300-bed units and two 200-bed units and are based on the most recent Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) physical plant standards for medium security offenders. All of the housing units are served by the three other buildings within the secure perimeter.

All administration, security, visitation, and educational and counseling resources will be in one building at the front of the facility while segregation housing, medical, processing and intake, property and mail, commissary, and food service will be in a separate building. The third building will house the work based education and Arizona industries programs. There will also be a maintenance building located on the site outside of the secure perimeter. A gatehouse designed to ADC standards will be constructed.

Speaking first for locating the prison in Winslow were Mayor Boyd and City Administrator Jim Ferguson. Other speakers from the public included: Jesse Thompson, Navajo County Supervisor; Mark Woodson, city engineer; Dale Patton, city attorney; Becky Hipsure (against); Tess Kenna, professor; Lawerance Kenna, professor; Todd Roth; Harold Soehner, city councilman; Stephen Slaton; Charley Crownhart, Little Colorado Medical Center; Tom Parchaski; Eric Dumphy; Russ Merkle; and Marie LaMar (against).

The Arizona Department of Corrections will make a decision on locating a private prison in Winslow by Sept. 1.

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