New Hampshire’s Executive Council voted 5 to 0 this morning to approve a contract with MGT of America to review 8 proposals from 4 private firms interested in building and operating prisons in the Granite State. In a meeting characterized by debate-less votes on contracts and appointments, this one at least merited comments from most of the Councilors and responses from Department of Corrections and Department of Administrative Services leaders.
Linda Hodgdon, who heads the Department of Administrative Services, said state workers did not have time to analyze the 60 boxes of documents from the 4 bidders. The MGT analysis, which is supposed to be completed by October 5, will enable an “apples to apples comparison” between the proposals, and also with continued state operation of the prisons.
She said she has received an email from MGT assuring her that their analysis will be objective.
[Click here for the MGT contract.]
“We may decide it’s not worth our while to go with any of the 8 proposals,” added William Wrenn, Commissioner of Corrections.
Governor John Lynch also stressed that build-lease, in which a private firm would finance and build a new prison then lease it to the State, is also an option.
Both Wrenn and Hodgdon insisted the data from MGT will inform a discussion of whether privatization is a good idea.
Exactly how and when this policy discussion will take place is as yet unclear. What is clear is that the MGT report will be released just as the election campaign is heating up. Since John Lynch and two of the five Executive Councilors are not seeking re-election, a process that allows a decent amount of time for public discussion could extend beyond their terms of office.
Get more information at www.nhprisonwatch.org.