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YOUNGSTOWN Federal officials tour empty private prison



Published: Fri, February 22, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The officials gave no indication of the government's plans.

By ROGER G. SMITH

CITY HALL REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Federal officials toured the empty, privately owned Northeast Ohio Correctional Center on Thursday, but there's no reason for excitement.

Officials from the U.S. Department of Justice, federal Bureau of Prisons and Corrections Corporation of America management toured the 2,106-bed lockup on Hubbard Road, said Steve Owen, a CCA spokesman in Nashville.

They came primarily to see NOCC and gather facts, Owen said.

The officials gave no reaction, indication of the government's plans or timeline, he said. Federal officials have expressed interest in CCA prisons around the country, Owen said.

Closure: The federal government transferred the last of its 1,700 inmates out of the private prison on July 12, forcing the layoff of nearly 500 workers.

Since then, CCA has been actively seeking contracts with other states for inmates or a new arrangement with the federal government.

Contract talks with two states that started before the prison went empty showed promise, but haven't worked out yet.

There hasn't been any progress the past few months in securing state contracts, Owen said.

Earlier this month the federal government said it was just starting to look at taking over state or private prisons instead of building new, the Columbus Dispatch reported. Ohio is seeking a federal takeover of its prison in Orient just outside Columbus, which is set to close in April.

NOCC is the government's other possibility in Ohio.

rgsmith@vindy.com




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