Despite Voters and Lawmakers' Objections, Arkansas Advances Youth Prison Contract
By Amanda Claire Curcio
Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he plans to hire an Indiana company to manage five state youth prisons, even though lawmakers voted against the $15.8 million contract on Friday.
Arkansas Legislative Council members voiced concerns about for-profit Youth Opportunity Investments LLC of Carmel, Ind., because of recent troubles the company had managing Michigan juvenile lockups, as well as issues some of its executives had overseeing facilities in Indiana and Arkansas years ago when they were with different firms.
Lawmakers said that state officials failed to carefully review Youth Opportunity's past when deciding if it met the requirements of a request for proposals to run the Arkansas juvenile lockups.
At Friday's meeting, legislators voted 9-5 to not review the contract, meaning they didn't approve. Thirteen members were absent. The council meets when the General Assembly is not in session.