Arkansas Taking Youth Facilities After Contract Rejected

Dec 18, 2016

Gov. Asa Hutchinson at a press conference Friday. He is flanked by Department of Human Services Director Cindy Gillespie (left) and Department of Finance and Administration Director Larry Walther (right).

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the state is taking over operation of seven youth lockup facilities after lawmakers rejected a disputed $160 million contract with an Indiana company.

Hutchinson on Friday said the state will take over facilities operations for the next six months after the current contract with two companies running them ends. A legislative panel earlier Friday declined to review the Department of Human Services' contract with Youth Opportunity Investments LLC, which had been set to take over the facilities Jan. 1.

Lawmakers had questioned the increase in per-bed cost to run the facilities, and the two companies that had run them for years and lost the contract had also challenged the state's plan to work with Youth Opportunity.