Alaska Inmates Moving From Arizona After Prison Company Loses Contract

Alaska's pulling nearly 800 inmates from a private prison in Eloy, saying it will save millions by switching away from the Correctional Corporation of America.

The decision to pick Texas' Cornell Companies over CCA still leaves a few hundred prisoners in the Red Rock Correctional Center, according to media reports. Seems like that will leave a lot of guards watching over empty beds, so we imagine some folks will be receiving a pink slip.

On the other side of the aisle are the inmates and their families who will be affected.

Warden Bruno Stolc tells us he's not authorized to chat, so we ended up with Steve Owen, a CCA spokesman out of the company's HQ in Nashville, Tennessee. He tells us the company has "made any sort of announcements" about layoffs. The facility employs about 340 people, some of whom commute from the Phoenix metro area.

"Certainly it's our goal to maintain the staffing levels and keep that facility fully utilized," he says.

When the Red Rock facility opened in 2006, Eloy's mayor gushed to the Arizona Daily Star that it meant more job opportunities for the city.  

Owen says the company will try to sell its newly vacated beds to just about anyone who wants them. Gitmo prisoners and inmates from other countries aren't an option.


Alaska decided to move its prisoners to Colorado as a cost-cutting move. But the prisoners would have been moving anyway, the Anchorage Daily News reports, because CCA didn't bid the Red Rock facility to Alaska. It wanted to put the Alaskans in a prison in Minnesota.

Owen tells us he knows that some families of inmates have moved from Alaska to Arizona, but he wasn't sure how many. Needless to say, it's tough when your loved ones are shipped around the country like zoo animals.


Red Rock is a "multi-security-level" facility, but most of the inmates from the Great North are medium-level, Owens says. The move will leave about 650 prisoners in Red Rock who are from Hawaii, California and Washington, Owens says.

The Alaska inmates will be whisked out of the facility on a timetable left to that state's corrections department. The idea is to get them out in the next few months.

That may give CCA some breathing room in which to find a new bunch of scoundrels to house.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.