America’s Safest (and Brokest) Prison

Missouri’s newest correctional facility, the $105 million Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, is a state-of-the-art maximum-security prison with 130 video cameras, kitchens big enough to cook 30,000 meals a day, and room for 2,684 convicts. Trouble is, the state doesn’t have the money to operate it, so the place sits empty. “We’ve been unable to open Bonne Terre because of the high cost of doing so,” budget director Brian Long tells the St. Louis alternative weekly Riverfront Times (Dec. 26, 2001). “It’s about a $39 million proposition to bring it into operation, and the revenues simply haven’t been there.'”

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