Hutchinson To OK Prison Contract Despite Lawmakers’ Worries

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said he will hire an Indiana company to operate five state youth prisons, despite lawmakers concerns about the company’s operations in other states.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports the Arkansas Legislative Council voted 9-5 Friday against a contract with Youth Opportunity Investments, LLC, but the governor has said he will override that vote.

Lawmakers say Youth Opportunity has been issued more than a dozen written citations for poor performance in other states and criticized what they say was a cursory review of the company.

Gov. Hutchinson said he was “disappointed” with the lawmakers’ decision, and said youth facilities are monitored closely to ensure children are cared for “properly and safely.”

Youth Opportunity will begin operating facilities in Dermott, Harrisburg, Lewisville and Mansfield on July 1.

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