Arizona to close Florence prison, transferring thousands of inmates to Eloy

Arizona is proceeding with plans to close one of its two large state-run prison complexes in Florence and transfer more than 2,000 inmates to a private facility in Eloy.

The Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry has awarded a contract to private prison operator CoreCivic to house inmates to be moved from the state’s Florence prison complex to the company’s La Palma Correctional Center.

According to documents posted on the state procurement portal, the department considered bids on the contract from CoreCivic, and a competitor, The GEO Group, which proposed housing the prisoners at a facility in Michigan.

The Arizona Dept. of Corrections says this is a step towards deactivating the prison, which is expected to cost more than $500 million to keep open over the next three years.

Gov. Ducey announced plans to close the aging Florence prison complex in his 2020 State of the State address, calling it a cost-saving measure and saying it would free up staff to work at other prisons.

Ducey’s office has said the state’s recently refurbished execution chamber would remain in operation at the complex after all the inmates are moved.

The other major state prison in Florence is the newer Eyman complex, which on Thursday housed 5,345 inmates.

More Arizona headlines

For the latest local news, download the FOX 10 News app.

Tune in to FOX 10 Phoenix for the latest news: