CCA, a private prison operator headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., was the sole bidder.
The proposal to house inmates in an out-of-state private prison has drawn opposition, including a letter from the state American Civil Liberties Union and 30 other faith, civil rights, criminal justice reform, community and labor organizations objecting to the concept.
Rubenstein said he was aware of opposition to housing inmates out-of-state.
"I certainly understand and appreciate their concerns. We're purely looking at this as a way to prepare offenders for the parole board more quickly," he said.
While he had hoped state-run prisons would have bid on the contract, he emphasized it is intended to be a temporary fix as the proposals in 2013's Justice Reinvestment Act continue to reduce prison overcrowding.
Rubenstein said he's heard from inmates and families who are interested in transferring to the Lee Adjustment Center, particularly those in Southern West Virginia counties that are relatively close to the prison.
"The bottom line is, it's a voluntary-type placement," he said.
Because the state constitution prohibits involuntary "banishment" of prisoners out-of-state, inmates would have to volunteer to transfer to the Kentucky facility and sign a waiver.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.