State was hoodwinked on private prison, Kelly says


State News

February 18, 2019 - 10:57 AM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas was “hoodwinked” into hiring a private company to build a new prison based on a promise that the new lockup would require significantly less staff and the savings could be used to pay for the project, Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly said Friday.

Kelly’s comment during an Associated Press interview comes as her corrections secretary questions whether the staff savings will materialize because of what he sees as a less-than-ideal prison design. The new prison is under construction in Lansing, in the Kansas City area, and due to open early next year.

Former Republican Gov. Sam Brownback pushed the project as a way to replace the deteriorating prison in Lansing with no additional net cost to the state. Legislative leaders gave the final go-ahead for the project in January 2018, after Brownback’s administration assured lawmakers that the new prison could run safety with 46 percent fewer employees.

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