Las Vegas Sun

December 20, 2014

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New women’s prison will help relieve overcrowding

Nevada prison overcrowding is about to get some relief with the opening of the Southern Nevada Women's Correctional Facility in North Las Vegas.

The 500-bed prison is at 4370 Smiley Road near Lamb Boulevard, where a formal dedication is scheduled Saturday.

Female inmates are slated to move in next week. They will come from prisons in Carson City and near Indian Springs, as well as from the Clark County Detention Center.

The women's prison in Carson City will convert to a men's prison after the inmates are moved out and the building is rehabilitated and expanded.

The North Las Vegas prison is the state's first that is privately run. Corrections Corp. of America, based in Nashville, Tenn., built and will operate the facility.

The $28 million, 145,000-square-foot prison contains electronic surveillance and closed-circuit cameras.

Loy Hayes Jr. has been appointed warden with Mary Buell as assistant warden.

"His 26 years' experience in corrections will be an asset," said company Vice President Charles Blanchette.

Mary Beth Chunn, company spokeswoman, said the primary benefit of having a privately run prison "centers on providing an excellent level of quality at a far greater cost savings to the state of Nevada."

"The cost savings for construction is 15 percent or greater," Chunn said. "For operations, it's 5 to 15 percent greater than for an institution built and managed by the public sector. The reason behind this centers on being able to manage staff effectively, to better manage overtime costs and more streamlined purchasing because there's far less bureaucracy and time delays."

The company, founded in 1983, builds and manages 85,000 beds at prisons in the United States, Australia and Great Britain.

Industry programs inside the prison, which include food service, laundry and maintenance, will provide work experience and training for inmates, according to Corrections Corp.

"A captive labor force, available space and low operating costs are making some prisons a natural location for industry," the company said in a news release.

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