(By the way, bid opening for that contract has been postponed a second time and is now set for Dec. 5. Only two private corrections companies attended the pre-bid conference and are eligible to submit bids: Corrections Corporation of America, based in Nashville, and Community Education Centers, based in Houston.)
At the time the court issued its order in 2002, there were about 4,500 inmates in the Division of Corrections, about 800 of whom were housed in regional and county jails because of overcrowding.
As of last week, those numbers had grown to 6,825, with 1,192 in regional jails.
Speaking of Corrections, the division awarded the contract to provide cable TV service to 1,100 TVs in cells and common areas at Mount Olive Correctional Center to Suddenlink, at a cost of $5 per outlet per month or $66,000 a year.
However, a potentially lower bid, from Derint Enterprises of Houston, had to be disqualified because it arrived in Purchasing Division offices eight minutes past the bid-opening deadline.
Nonetheless, the bid package does provide an interesting insight on how much ESPN programming inflates cable and satellite TV costs.
Citing Dish Network hospitality customer (hotels, motels, hospitals, nursing homes and prisons) rates, the Derint bid indicated it could provide a 133-channel package for $3.75 per outlet per month. However, that package would not include three of the 47 channels specifically required in the Corrections request for bids: FX, Turner Classic Movies and ESPN.
For $5.21 per outlet per month, Derint indicated it could provide all requested channels but ESPN. A satellite package with ESPN channels (including ESPN2, ESPN News, ESPN Classic, and ESPNU) would kick the cost up to $9.76 per outlet per month.
Finally, here in the Capitol press room, we get our Internet service through a server operated by the Legislature. So imagine my surprise last week to learn the server's web filter had blocked access to the West Virginia Lottery's official website, deeming it to be a gambling site.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.