CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Two companies will be able to bid on a state contract to house as many as 400 Division of Corrections inmates in out-of-state facilities, with a bid opening now set for Nov. 5.
Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein said Monday he was somewhat disappointed that only two private corrections companies sent representatives to a mandatory pre-bid conference for the contract.
"I thought we would get four, five or six interested parties," Rubenstein said. "I thought we would have a mixture, that we'd certainly have the private companies, but also state divisions of corrections or a county system that felt they had the beds available and could provide the services."
Rubenstein told legislators in September that the division was putting out a request for bids for a contract to house up to 400 inmates in out-of-state facilities to help ease a backlog of more than 1,600 inmates who are housed in regional jails around the state.
Only two companies sent representatives to a mandatory pre-bid conference last week: Corrections Corporation of America, based in Nashville, and Community Education Centers, based in Houston.
CCA identifies itself as the largest private corrections company in the United States, operating the fifth largest corrections system in the country, with more than 80,000 inmates housed in more than 60 facilities.
CEC primarily provides residential re-entry centers and in-prison treatment programs, but also operates nine secure jail and detention facilities, with the closest being the George W. Hill Correctional Facility, a 1,800-bed complex in Thornton, Pa.
Both potential bidders have been invited to send representatives to tour the St. Marys Correctional Center on Wednesday, Rubenstein said.
"We've set up a tour of the St. Marys facility Wednesday, for both vendors to tour the facility and get a feel for our operations," he said.