Official: Alaska dropping out-of-state inmate housing idea

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JUNEAU, Alaska The Alaska Department of Corrections is not moving forward with a proposal to have inmates housed out of state, Commissioner Nancy Dahlstrom said Thursday.

In October, the department announced it planned to seek bids for the proposal, which Dahlstrom at that time said was the best way to address immediate growth in the prison population. But the idea also raised concerns among legislators.

In a statement Thursday, Dahlstrom said that from the beginning, the plan to seek bids was only one tool being considered. In-state options have instead been found to address the “immediate burden on our system,” she said.

The department now will work to implement a pilot program to house inmates with one year or less remaining on their sentence at a dedicated re-entry community residential center. The department also will begin work on “life and safety projects” at the mothballed Palmer Correctional Center, according to a department release.