uam – Backed by the Director and staff of the Department of Corrections and joined by Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio, Senator Bryant McCreadie unveiled bill that would authorize the construction of a new prison.
One of its aims, he said, is to avoid the looming threat of a Court ordered Federal receivership for the Department of Corrections.
“The faster we do this, the better,” said McCreadie. “because as we all know, we are close to Federal receivership and Federal receivership on this island does not work in favor of this community and this government.”
The measure was formally introduced Wednesday at a news conference inside the Mangilao prison. It already has 10 sponsors, 5 democrats and 5 republicans.
If passed and signed into law, it would authorize the Governor to enter up to a 30-year Lease-Back agreement with a private contractor who would replace the old and over-crowded facility in Maniglao with a new 1-thousand bed modern prison in the same location.
“Its not going to be free and it is going to cost money,” said McCreadie. “We have to find the money, we have to find a revenue source and we have to find the debt service to do this”
Bill #172 does not provide any funding. It authorizes GEDA to issue an RFP soliciting proposals from contractors who will build the new facility at their own expense. Then GovGuam would pay them back over time.
McCreadie hopes it can be done under $50-million dollars.
GEDA Deputy Administrator Mana Silva Taijeron says Lease-Back agreements have already built 4 High Schools, including JFK High. “It is a viable tool,” she said adding ” its probably the best possible option for this deal.”
GPD Lt. Mark Charfauros, who has been been detailed to DOC to work on the plan, called the bill passage of the biol “paramount.” It is extremely important that we pass the authority for this Administration to move forward with an RFp should the funding be available.”
And DOC Director Jose San Agustin said he was in full support of this legislation.
McCreadie says he hopes a willing contractor can be found and dirt turn on the start of a new prison by the end of next year.