The Lansing Correctional Facility may be getting a facelift.
In a visit to the historic facility Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Sam Brownback said the “facility really needs to be replaced.”
A nine-member state finance committee will convene at 10 a.m. Thursday in Topeka to decide whether the Kansas Department of Corrections should pursue a project to rebuild a correctional facility that has housed offenders since 1863. The panel includes nine members and Brownback.
“We desperately need a new facility,” Brownback said. “We need a modernized facility, one that is safe for people to work in and for the inmates to be in. The best practices of 150 years ago are not the best practices today.”
Brownback said the LCF is “not structured for a modern prison.”
The proposed facility that the committee will consider would feature two inmate housing units that would have 1,920 beds and 512 beds, respectively.
Seventy-five percent of the cells would be two-person units and 25 percent would be four-person units.
The facility would feature indoor and outdoor recreation areas as well as improved lighting and security. It would also feature modern utility systems that provide cost and energy savings.
The facility would also have security systems that would include magnetic door switches and enhanced video surveillance systems.
“The state needs to put money into this facility,” Brownback said.
Samir Arif, public information officer for KDOC, said the project would result in approximately $23 million in savings over the 20-year lease agreement with Core Civic.
The Kansas Department of Corrections announced in February 2017 its plans to explore options for constructing a new facility at the LCF.
“I know the city (of Lansing) is certainly hoping the rebuild of the correctional facility happens,” said Lansing City Administrator Tim Vandall, who attended the press conference along with Lansing Mayor Mike Smith. “We think it would be a great thing for the state of Kansas and would be an efficient use of tax dollars.”
Vandall said he hopes the partnership the city and correctional facility have had for the last 150 years will “continue for the next 150 years.”
Vandall said he agreed with the governor’s remarks that the correctional facility needs updated.
“The correctional facility is showing some wear and tear,” Vandall said. “It’s certainly in need of some improvements. It’s an outdated facility and you don’t operate a correctional facility now the way they did 150 years ago.”
Brownback also praised KDOC’s mentor program during his visit to Lansing.
Two inmates and their mentors attended the press conference.
“It’s a two-way relationship and it’s a beautiful one,” Brownback said of the mentor program.
Brownback also said his nomination as an ambassador for international religious freedom in the Trump administration “appears to be progressing.”