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Prison explores expansion

WINTON – Roughly 200 jobs may soon be heading to the area, if expansion plans for the current Rivers Correctional Institution (RCI) go as planned.

After a closed session following last week’s regular meeting of the Hertford County Commissioners, the board voted to pass a resolution in support of The GEO Group’s intent to submit a proposal for the expansion.

According to the resolution, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBP) has issued a solicitation for contractors to submit proposals for the management and operation of a correctional facility to house a total of about 3,814 low-security, adult male inmates who are primarily non-United States citizens.

Each proposed facility must be either a newly constructed correctional facility or an existing facility with expansion capable of accommodating 900-2,650 beds on a daily basis.

The GEO Group, Inc., who owns the land upon which the existing Rivers Correctional Institution stands just west of Winton, is apparently interested in answering the FBP’s request.

&uot;If GEO is awarded a contract… for a project on its proposed Hertford County site, the project will generate significant new construction jobs and local expenditures during the developmental phase of the project, and significant new full-time jobs and continuing local expenditures related to the operation of the project,&uot; part of the resolution reads.

GEO has operated RCI for almost nine years with few problems.

The facility currently has 1,300 beds.

Hertford County is not required to provide any direct financial assistance to the project or to pledge any funds or taxpayer dollars.