Pine Prairie Correctional Center, a large private prison in Evangeline Parish, is scheduled to close next month, Pine Prairie Mayor Terry Savant said Friday.
The GEO Group, a Florida-based company that owns the 1,094-bed prison, commented only that the company plans to “re-purpose” the facility, but the state Department of Corrections confirmed that it has been informed the prison is shutting its doors.
Savant said officials with the prison company told him the Pine Prairie facility will close July 10.
He did not know how many people were employed there but said he believes most have been placed in jobs at other prisons or detention centers owned by GEO Group, which also runs a facility in nearby Basile.
“I think they were all placed,” Savant said.
GEO Group bought the Pine Prairie Correctional Center earlier this year from Lafayette-based LCS Corrections Services.
The private prison contracts with local sheriff’s offices and the state DOC to house inmates.
DOC spokeswoman Pam Laborde said the state still had about 358 inmates in Pine Prairie as of last week.
“We are aware that they will be closing, and we will be working with them over the next few weeks to transfer the DOC offender population to other facilities,” Laborde said.
The GEO Group declined comment, issuing only a brief statement through spokesman Pablo Paez.
“While as a matter of policy, we cannot comment on specific operational matters, our company is undertaking efforts to re-purpose the Pine Prairie facility,” Paez wrote in an email.
Savant said he was told there is a possibility of the prison re-opening if the company could secure a contract to house federal inmates in 2017.