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Hawaii signs contract to keep inmates in Arizona

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 10:09 a.m. HST, Jun 25, 2011

The state has awarded a three year, $136.5 million contract to a private prison operator to house Hawaii inmates in Arizona, but Gov. Neil Abercrombie's administration says it's continuing to develop long-term plans to bring Hawaii's prisoners home.

The Department of Public Safety said Friday the contract with Corrections Corporations of America will allow nearly 2,000 prisoners to be housed at Saguaro Correctional Center and Red Rock Correctional Center.

Corrections Corporations of America was the only bidder for the contract.

The state doesn't have enough prison space to accommodate the return of the roughly 1,700 inmates currently held at CCA facilities in Arizona.

Department Director Jodie Maesaka-Hirata says returning Hawaii prisoners will involve expanding prison space in Hawaii, creating alternatives to incarceration and reducing recidivism through community-based programs.

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