A contract to build a 400-bed transitional prison in Southern Nevada was approved by the state Board of Examiners on Tuesday.
Casa Grande will be built by Southern Nevada developer Irwin Molasky and then rented to the state on a lease-purchase contract. The total value of the ground lease and development agreement approved by the board is $16.8 million.
Molasky said he is doing the project because he believes it is key to reducing the number of inmates who get out of prison but return within months because they don't have the skills to make it in society.
The idea behind Casa Grande is to provide a controlled living environment for up to four months for inmates about to be released from prison. During that time, they receive whatever counseling they need, find and get established in a job, get drivers' licenses and a private place to live.
Director of Corrections Jackie Crawford said the transitional prison is vital to efforts to reduce recidivism and there are more than enough inmates waiting for the services.
"If I had it open today, I could fill it," she said.
Crawford said officials hope to run 1,200 inmates through the facility a year and that it could help cut the number of prisoners who return to prison for new violations by as much as 70 percent. She said if that is true, it will save far more money than it is costing the state by keeping inmates out of jail and making them productive members of society.
The project will be the second done in Nevada as a lease-purchase. The first is the new Conservation and Natural Resources building under construction on Stewart Street just north of the Nevada Department of Transportation building.
Under lease-purchase, the state has a private contractor build facilities to its specifications then, much like a private homeowner paying a mortgage, buys the building over a period of years with monthly payments. In this case, it will take an estimated 27 years to pay for Casa Grande.
Contact Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.