Mapp Administration Fulfills State of the Territory Promise To Move Prisoners Off-Island
CHRISTIANSTED — Gov. Kenneth Mapp fulfilled his first state of the territory promise to move prisoners at Golden Grove Correctional Facility off-island this week.
Mapp said that 105 prisoners were transferred off-island Tuesday morning.
Details of the transfer were announced by Mapp and B.O.C. Director Rick Mullgrav at a press conference at Government House in Christiansted.
The Governor stated that 67 prisoners were being sent to Saguaro Correctional Facility in Eloy, Arizona and that 38 were going to the Citrus County Correctional Facility in Florida.
Each are operated by the Corrections Corporation of America. The prisoners were flown out of the territory Tuesday on a charter plane provided by the company and were accompanied by its security personnel.
The Bureau of Corrections has operated under a federal consent decree since 1986 as a result of a failure to meet acceptable standards.
The transfer was necessary in order for required maintenance to be completed on Bureau of Correction facilities and is also a cost saving measure. The savings will be directed to renovations, staff training and to raise the base pay of all Corrections officers.
Mapp said that the cost of $150 per day per prisoner here in the territory, far exceeded the $67 to $82 per day to house the prisoners off-island.
“We are committed to professionalizing our facilities,” he said. “I would like to thank Director Mullgrav and his staff for fulfilling one of our Administration’s commitments.”
Last year, the Executive Branch began taking long needed steps to address the numerous compliance orders issued by the U.S. District Court. Director Mullgrav indicated that undertaking major infrastructural improvements posed security and safety risks with a large number of prisoners on site.
He said BOC is working to provide for video conference visits for the families of transferred prisoners.
Most of the 179 incarcerated remaining in the territory are detainees awaiting trial. The Governor said that some had been waiting for a court date for as long as seven years.
“This is unacceptable,” he said.
The governor indicated that he would work with the judicial and legislative branches to speed up the process as the long delays were both unjust and costly.
He said that he is also seeking to “empower the parole board” to release ill and aged prisoners to a halfway house where they can receive better care and be eligible for Medicare benefits.