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IDOC intends to close Indiana State Prison to create room for a new $1.2 billion institution in Westville



Madison, Indiana – A decision to close the state prison in Michigan City in favor of a new facility in Westville was unexpected by some members of the Indiana State Budget Committee.

“This is a very interesting evolution, to say the least,” State Rep. Ed DeLaney said.

Several members questioned the internal IDOC decision to close the prison and the existing Westville Correctional Facility in order to make room for the new $1.2B facility, which was made long after the most recent budget was authorized.

“I was on the ways and means committee and I don’t remember being advised that we were suddenly talking about two prisons rather than one prison,” DeLaney said.

Although it wasn’t originally planned, IDOC Commissioner Christina Reagle stated that doing so will save the state $45M annually in running expenses.

“The annual operating savings alone of closing the ISP would create a payback of less than 20 years on this project and we avoid nearly $400M in capital asks,” Reagle said.

Some committee members, though, weren’t so certain that the advantages outweighed the $1.2B cost of the new building.

”We added $800M to build one prison just for the cost of inflation,” State Sen. Fady Qaddoura said.

”Even though you say we’re going to save money over a 20-year period or whatever, I still think it’s astronomical the dollars being spent,” State Rep. Gregory Porter said.

Reagle countered that Indiana is not the only state experiencing significant costs for modernized prison facilities.

”The size of this facility contributes to the dollar amount,” Reagle said. “We’ve visited facilities of a similar size, and all of them have been about a billion dollars.”

When it is finished, the new Westville facility will be able to house 4,200 prisoners, making it the biggest one in the state. Reagle said that the facility’s design work is 95% complete and that the IDOC intends to begin ground on the building before the winter.

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