Topeka Military officials have broken ground on a new prison complex at Fort Leavenworth, consolidating corrections operations from three other posts.
Dubbed the Midwest Joint Regional Corrections Facility, the $150 million prison will have space for about 500 minimum- and medium-security inmates from all branches of the military.
The prison will be built on 40 acres near the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, which is the military's maximum-security prison, housing inmates from all branches of service. Ground was broken on the new prison on Monday. It is scheduled to be operational by the fall of 2010.
Brig. Gen. Rodney L. Johnson, Army Provost Marshal General, said that the new prison made sense economically.
"We are moving toward a joint corrections system and this (USDB) is the premier Department of Defense facility so it made sense to put another one here," Johnson said. "This (USDB) is our flagship for corrections."
Military officials decided to close prisons at Fort Knox, Ky., Fort Sill, Okla., and Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, and consolidate the operations at Fort Leavenworth.
The decision was part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission's recommendations.
"Those facilities - Sill, Knox, Lackland - are old. They are all over 50 years old. Do you put lots of money into those and in five years from now you're right back where you started or do you build a new state-of-the-art facility?" Johnson said.
The new complex will include facilities for the new 40th Military Police Internment and Resettlement Battalion, which is being activated in 2009, and another military police unit being activated in 2010 to support the new prison.
When the prison is done, the post will have about 200 new military and civilian jobs.