In four months, the GEO Group contract between the State of Vermont and the North Lake Correctional Facility, in Baldwin, Michigan, is set to expire. Though there is no expectation that it will be renewed - the 240 Vermont inmates are the only occupants of 1748-inmate capacity prison - plans for the transfer of the inmates have not yet been revealed. Vermont has previously housed inmates in facilities in Arizona and Kentucky.
Vermont is one of three states that currently uses out-of-state facilities to house its incarcerated population. It, like Hawaii, has no in-state for-profit facilities of its own, while California currently houses nearly six thousand prisoners in facilities in Arizona and Mississippi. Idaho, which has had its own notorious experiences with private prisons at home, brought back the last of its prisoners being held in Colorado at the Kit Carson Correctional Center over the summer.
The decision to close the prison came a little over three years after the Michigan State legislature passed Senate Bill No. 878 specifically permitting the transfer of inmates and detainees from other state agencies. The expansion of allowable offenders was included in the legislation to reopen the prison to in-state prisoners. Since 2005, the facility has experienced unstable utilization, contributing to economic uncertainty in town of Baldwin, where a full prison population would have surpassed the 1200-person population by nearly 50 percent.
Pretrial proceedings in a lawsuit being brought by an inmate held under Vermont’s earlier contract with Corrections Corporation of America (now CoreCivic) at Lee Correctional Center are currently scheduled to begin in March.
Read GEO Group’s out-of-state proposal embedded below, or on the request page.
Image via GEO Group