Federal prisoner facility going up in Kearney

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Associated Press

Posted on August 25, 2014 at 6:01 PM

KEARNEY, Neb. (AP) — A Kentucky company has won a $6.7-million bid to build a Kearney re-entry center for federal prisoners, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

Federal officials announced Friday that Louisville, Kentucky-based Dismas Charities was awarded the bid to construct a planned, 7-500-square-foot facility, the Kearney Hub reported (http://bit.ly/XLMu6N ).

Dismas Charities operates re-entry programs and had secured a building permit in 2013 for the Kearney property. U.S. officials had requested proposals last year for one in Nebraska.

Dismas Vice President Steven Vice said the company has 120 days to build the facility and expects it to be finished in January. Vice said the 48-bed facility will house federal prisoners who have committed nonviolent crimes that are primarily related to substance abuse. The center will offer supervision and support for inmates nearing release.

"We're very happy about (the bid)," Vice said. "We've already started the project from early planning stages and development. We're moving forward as soon as possible."

City manager Mike Morgan said the city will be in contact with Dismas soon to ask it to hold a town hall meeting and address residents' concerns. Some Kearney residents have expressed worry for citizens' security over the project.

"Our expectation is that Dismas, now that they've been awarded the bid, will reach out to the community and provide background about their services and respond to citizens' concerns," Morgan said. "We've encouraged that all along."

Vice said the facility will have a volunteer community relations board that will work to develop relationships with Kearney residents. He said the purpose of the board is to explain to Kearney residents what the facility does and how it operates.

The board will include facility staff, probation officers, pretrial officers and social service providers, he said.

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Information from: Kearney Hub, http://www.kearneyhub.com/

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