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Private Prison Awaits Feds and Financing
Monday, 17 August 2009

August 17--  The company planning to build a private prison in Mount Vernon is assuring local officials the project is moving forward under new leadership.

The former chief executive officer, Michael Croft, has left the company which is now called Detention Management, LLC.  Two of the new company's executives, Terry O'Brien and Tom Rapone, met with Montgomery County commissioners and promised to build a larger private prison in Montgomery County.

"It appears the federal government isn't looking for smaller facilities.  They're looking for larger blocks of facilities.  So we're looking at increasing the Montgomery bed count to a thousand beds or better. That creates another whole new opportunity for us because it opens up economies of scale.  It helps us with that interest rate and in so many different ways to get the deal done.  We're poised to rock and roll here and to move fast," according to O'Brien.

The company, which currently houses Montgomery County inmates at its prison in Irwin County, is seeking to get listed as a contractor with the U.S. General Services Administration.  Rapone says that will help attract investors to tax free bonds.  "We intend to use our experience and our background to go about the business of seeking and competing for these longer term contracts and that's what you're going to have to do here.  The federal government has very little capital construction plans for new prisons in the next ten years.  It's all going to go to the private sector," he said.

Initial plans for the jail were derailed last year when the economy nose-dived.  Now O'Brien hopes they're back on track and can be operating within 18 months.  He estimates the prison will cost up to $45 million to build and employ up to 150 people.


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