State officials are delaying a decision on where to build a new prison processing center for male offenders in Western Washington.
Officials had hoped to have named three site finalists by March. But as lawmakers try to balance the state budget, officials are weighing all options, said David Jansen, capital programs director for the state Department of Corrections.
Lawmakers are "dealing with a financial crisis, and that's a legitimate reason to look at any other possible combinations," he told The Daily News of Longview. "Everything is on the table."
He said officials will consider alternatives such as renting beds in other jails or using existing state buildings.
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The DOC wants to build a $200 million center to house 1,000 inmates who have just entered the prison system or are being transferred between prisons.
The state is projected to have a prison bed shortage in 2016, and officials had hoped to begin construction in 2013 and open by 2016. To meet that deadline, officials had hoped to have three finalists named in March and a final decision by the end of this year.
The agency has received applications for 16 sites, including one in Castle Rock. Also, Morton, Winlock, Ground Mound and Raymond have applied.
Many communities competing for the center see it as a way to bring jobs and new development to their towns.
The facility, called a reception center, would be the first place that offenders go after they are sentenced. Most will stay about a month before they are transferred to another state prison.
The Legislature has approved money to find a site for a new prison, but it has not approved money to build the facility.