New Hampshire’s legislature and governor have been looking to privatize much, if not all, of the state’s prison system for the past few months. The state submitted a request for proposals in April, and in May announced a new proposal to send all male prisoners to private facilities.
Apparently not content with just considering prison privatization proposals, New Hampshire wants to partially privatize the process of figuring out the bids. The state expects the process to take about 2.5 months and is seeking technical assistance to sort through the plethora of information they’ll receive responsive to the request for proposals. The consultant, the only one who bid, was just awarded a contract for nearly $175,000. The state had actually asked 3 other companies to bid, but they all declined. A spokesperson for one of the companies that turned down the state said they did so because they didn’t want to be involved in a process where “the job would go to the lowest bidder.” I’m sure this in no way could lead to a conflict of interest or poor decision-making by the state.
CCA and MTC appear to be at the forefront of the cash grab; CCA is looking into 3 sites, and MTC seems pretty competitive in the bidding process. Folks in New Hampshire are becoming a little frustrated with the process and its lack of transparency; an agency within the executive branch has the authority to award the contract with little to no public discussion of the potential risks and ramifications. This is especially troubling given the industry’s propensity to not save money and have higher rates of incidents like assaults, escapes, and other security issues.