Private prison program advances

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Chile's first three private prisons in the cities of Rancagua (central region), La Serena (central-north) and Iquique (north) will begin operations in December 2004, the central government said in a statement.

The first phase of Chile's private prison building program was officially launched Tuesday at a ceremony on the land where concessionaire BAS - a Chilean-Italian consortium made up of Besalco, Astaldi and Sodexho - will build the 45,835 sq. m. Rancagua high security prison, which will hold 1,689 inmates.

The government's US$280mn prison building program of 10 new correctional facilities, which it is auctioning off in four batches, will create 20,000 new places over four years.

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Winners will be responsible for building and maintaining the prisons over a 20-year period. They will provide food, health, work, education and rehabilitation services.

The second round of concessions to build and operate jails in Antofagasta (Region II) and Concepcion (Region VIII) is scheduled to be announced July 31.

Concessions are also planned for prisons in the southern cities of Puerto Montt and Valdivia, in Region X, one in central Region V and two in capital Santiago. Each of the five will need an estimated US$25mn investment.

Chile currently has 110 penal centers designed to hold 23,000 prisoners. It has a prison population of over 34,000.