Alaska State Legislature
News from the House and Senate Majority

Wendy Lindskoog, Senate Majority Press Secretary
Jerry Ritter, House Majority Press Secretary
State Capitol
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Phone: 907/465-4582
Broadcast Actualities: 800/478-6540

Senate Passes Fort Greely Prison Bill

Measure Authorizes State to Contract with Municipalities for Prison Services

For Immediate Release: March 31, 1998 Contact: Rep. Eldon Mulder at (907) 465-2647 or Sen. Jerry Ward at (907) 465-4940.

Juneau -- The Alaska Senate Tuesday passed House Bill 53 by a 12-7 vote. HB 53 encourages and authorizes the Department of Corrections to enter into a contract with the City of Delta Junction to use the deactivated Fort Greely facilities for a prison. It also authorizes the Department to enter into a contract with the Municipality of Anchorage to replace the antiquated Sixth Avenue Jail.

"The conversion of Fort Greely into a prison will provide desperately needed prison beds so we can return our prisoners from Arizona and not only keep the money we currently spend in Arizona in Alaska but provide Alaskan jobs as well," said Representative Eldon Mulder (R-Anchorage), the measure's sponsor. "It will also preserve the economic life of the Delta region as well as save U.S. taxpayers almost $50 million dollars in demolition costs," Mulder said.

HB 53 authorizes municipalities to provide or enter into agreements to provide prison services. It also requires that any lease with the City of Delta Junction be for a minimum of 800 beds and a minimum of 20 years. It sets a maximum capital cost of $56 million for the Sixth Avenue Jail replacement and provides for 20 a year lease for the facility.

"This bill solves a number of Alaska's corrections problems and saves Alaskans a lot of money," said Senator Jerry Ward (R-Anchorage), who lead the effort to pass the bill in the Senate. "The replacement facility for the Sixth Avenue Jail will be located within a mile of the existing Cook Inlet Pretrial Facility or the Anchorage Courthouse, while the Fort Greely prison will save the State at least ten dollars a day per prisoner," Ward said.

"Alaska's prisons are overcrowded and the problem is growing," said Rep. Mulder. "This bill will enable us to address this problem. The Delta Prison alone will improve Alaska's economy by millions of dollars a year, providing both construction jobs and long term correctional jobs, and reducing the per-day cost of incarceration," Mulder said.

HB 53 now returns to the House for concurrence.

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Broadcasters note: Actualities from Rep. Mulder and Sen. Ward are available at 1-800-478-6540.
= Eldon Mulder, 28 K = Jerry Ward, 70 K