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Nevada officials OK $9.2M deal to ship inmates to Arizona

CARSON CITY — The Nevada Board of Examiners on Tuesday approved a $9.2 million contract with a private corrections company that will allow the state to send 200 inmates to an Arizona prison.

The two-year agreement with Nashville-based CoreCivic Inc. comes as Nevada’s corrections system is overburdened with inmates and facing a bed shortage. A building at Southern Desert Correctional Center is set to be renovated, a project that will temporarily close 212 beds.

The department will target “the most destructive and the most dangerous” inmates for out-of-state relocation, Nevada Department of Corrections Director James Dzurenda said. This group includes those who recruit gang members and extort others.

“We’re not going to tolerate that,” he said.

State officials have identified most inmates who will be sent to Saguaro Correctional Facility in Eloy, about 65 miles south of Phoenix. Officials expect to move most of the inmates in the third week of November.

Nevada’s gain is more than “bed-for-bed,” Dzurenda said, because some relocating inmates are in segregation areas that can house two inmates.

Nevada has 14,683 inmates, but it has traditional bed space for 13,361 inmates. That means 322 inmates sleep in day rooms and areas originally designated for inmate programs, Dzurenda said.

Under the contract, Nevada will pay $72.58 per inmate per day during the first fiscal year. That rate changes to $74.40 in the next fiscal period, which starts July 1 . The contract is flexible, allowing Nevada to expand the number of inmates if necessary, Dzurenda said.

Contact Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2904. Follow @BenBotkin1 on Twitter.

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