On May 28, Gov. Andy Beshear and the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet announced plans for the Department of Corrections to open and operate the Southeast State Correctional Complex in the former Otter Creek facility in Wheelwright.

“The 656-bed prison is located in Wheelwright, and its opening will reduce the number of state inmates in county jails,” Beshear said in a statement. “The state commits to safely and effectively running this state prison, while being able to bring new job opportunities to Floyd County and its surrounding counties.”

Kentucky’s legislature passed a one-year state budget in April that specifically allocated funds for the state to open and operate Southeast State Correctional Complex in this fiscal year.

The Department of Corrections (DOC) will lease the building from CoreCivic, but it will operate the facility as a state prison. The hiring process will begin immediately with those who previously applied for positions at the facility. The prison will eventually employ over 200 staff. DOC will evaluate seasoned correctional staff who wish to voluntarily transfer to the new facility. Inmates will be transferred to the prison as soon as staff training is completed over the summer, with precautions being taken in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, the statement said.

Southeast State Correctional Complex, the statement said, will house secure custody male inmates. Inmates who are statutorily required to serve their sentence in a county jail will not be moved.

For more on this developing story, check out Wednesday’s edition of the Floyd Chronicle and Times.

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