The initial writeup in the VDT quoted CCA as being all coy about if a need arose from the state they would be ready to deploy the private prison in Lowndes County:
“This is (for) a future need that we don’t even know what it’ll be yet,” Frank Betancourt, CCA’s vice president of real estate development said. “There’s no ground breaking to announce. When the need (for a facility) does arrive, we can be the first ones to offer (our services).”Yet if you look on CCA’s own website under partnering:
CCA has been a great partner with us for nearly a decade now. Coffee Correctional Facility and Wheeler Correctional Facility certainly meet the standards of the Georgia Department of Corrections. I particularly appreciate CCA maintaining exemplary accreditation status with both the American Correctional Association and the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare. I look forward to a continued long relationship with them.”And over in Decatur County people actually asked about this, and were told by “Jay Hollis, project manager of site acquisition for Corrections Corporation of America (CCA)” that:
—Commissioner James E. Donald, Georgia Department of Corrections
“This is a project that came about because we knew, and we continue to know, that there will be demand at the state and federal level,”This same Jay Hollis was also quoted in the VDT’s initial writeup:
“It’s a very calculated process (deciding) where to put one of these locations,” Hollis said. “We do a lot of analysis before putting our foot on the ground.”Heh, “primary site,” he said, while telling Decatur County they were getting one, too. Flattery will get you everywhere, at least apparently with the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority, which appears to have swallowed that “primary site” guff hook, line, and sinker!
Following the completion of engineering and feasibility reports, Valdosta/Lowndes County was chosen.
“Our Valdosta/Lowndes County site quickly became our primary due to its local and regional workforce, collaboration of local leadership, site characteristics, proximity to necessary services and infrastructure, and accessibility to name a few,” Hollis said. “This site also provides the potential for the creation of hundreds of jobs, significant tax revenues that go toward local schools and infrastructure, and the purchasing of local goods and services in the community.”
Back to Hollis of CCA:
By going ahead and completing this phase in the process, CCA will be able to focus solely on the construction phase of the project when the time comes to build a site.Notice Hollis wasn’t even saying “if”, he said “when the time comes”. So when Betancourt said, “we don’t even know what it’ll be yet,” he meant he didn’t know whether it would be a private prison for a state or federal customer.
“What this partnership does is take a year off of the development process,” Hollis said. “We believe we’ll have a leg up when (a) development (opportunity) arrives.”
OK, so how can CCA know that, at both the state and federal level? Stay tuned.