Public hearing set on proposed private prison in Adams Co.

Published 7:11 pm Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The board of supervisors has set a public hearing Tuesday on proposals from two private prison companies to locate in Adams County.

The GEO Group of Boca Raton, Fla., and Corrections Corporation of America of Nashville, Tenn., are vying for a government contract to house federal prisoners.

Both are proposing prisons for low- to medium-level security inmates.

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County supervisors voted to advertise that the companies were looking at locating in the county, a required step under state law.

Supervisor S.E. “Spanky” Felter said local residents need to know what the companies are planning.

“They’ve got to live around it. And if they’re satisfied, I’m satisfied,” he said.

If residents aren’t satisfied, they can collect signatures for a petition to call for an election on the issue.

CCA is looking at a tract of land along U.S. 84 in the northeastern part of the county. They also are considering Pike County as a possible location.

“We’ve made it clear from the onset that an important factor is to assess community support. We want to be upfront with folks,” CCA spokesman Steve Owen said.

GEO is looking at locating on county land at the Natchez-Adams County Airport, which would require a few extra steps before construction could begin.

Cloid Shuler, GEO’s vice president of business development, said he would be at the hearing.

“There’s always some concern when you’re bringing a correctional facility to a community. We’ll spend as much time as we need to make sure the public is fully informed,” Shuler said.