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Marion Prison Officials Readying For Transfer of Power

Prison officials in Marion are getting ready to turn the North Central Correctional Institution over to a private contractor. A statewide prison restructuring calls for the Marion facility to merge with a now-vacant juvenile facility next door and be run by Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America. State prisons spokesman Carlo Loparo insists privatization will not mean a dropoff in security or prisoner care. "The employees of the private facilities train along side public employees. Their operations and procedures are identical to the state facilities, as well as their programming of inmates," Loparo says. The transfer from state-to-private care happens Saturday night at 10 o’clock. Plans also call for privatization of a prison in Ashtabula county, and another now privately-run facility in Lorraine county will return to state control. Prisons officials say the plan will save about $13 million a year and no state employees will be laid off.