BOP moving forward with new federal prison

John Richmeier

Officials with the Federal Bureau of Prisons are moving forward with plans to construct a new prison that will replace the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth.

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran hosted a conference call Monday with representatives of Leavenworth and the BOP to discuss the project.

Moran said a new federal correctional institution and a satellite camp will be constructed on the existing BOP property in Leavenworth.

Construction of the new prison likely will not start for at least a year, according to BOP officials who participated in the call.

While the old U.S. Penitentiary will be closed once the new facility is complete, Brian Gross, BOP’s assistant director for administration, said officials are looking into possible future uses for the historic prison.

Moran, R-Kansas, serves as the chairman for the Senates’ Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Related Agencies. He said a total of $356 million in funding has been appropriated for the new prison project during the last two years.

Before construction of the new prison can begin, an environmental assessment to supplement an earlier study must be completed. This will take about a year to complete, according to Cheryl Ciccone, acting chief of BOP’s Construction and Environmental Review Branch.

Construction of the new prison will take close to three years to complete.

Gross said staffing for the new prison should be about the same as the existing facility.

“It will be nearly identical to what’s in there now,” he said.

Leavenworth Mayor Mike Griswold said Monday was “an exciting day in the history of Leavenworth.”

“We value our relationships with our federal partners,” he said.

Leavenworth City Manager Paul Kramer said construction of the new prison helps ensure BOP’s future in the community.

Kramer did express interest in what will happen to the old U.S. Penitentiary.

“It is a landmark,” he said.

Gross said BOP officials have talked about a number of possible uses for the famous prison including a training facility for the federal prison system or a museum.

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