New Hampshire’s five Executive Councilors were greeted this morning by twenty activists holding signs opposing privatization of the state’s prison system. The issue was not on the Council’s formal agenda for its meeting at the Manchester School of Technology, but it is clearly on the minds of a growing number of concerned citizens.
The State is in the process of evaluating bids from four private firms interested in a contract to operate the state’s prisons. At its previous meeting, July 11, the Council approved a $171,000 consulting contract with MGT of America to help state employees evaluate the proposals. The governor insists the state is merely gathering information to inform decisions which would be made following discussions of public policy implications. But no plan has yet been revealed for public discussion of the bids or the MGT analysis.
Outside the School of Technology, Councilor Ray Burton had a friendly chat with a handful of anti-privatization activists. He pointed out that decisions are likely to occur after the November election when there will be a different governor and a changed make-up of the Executive Council.