KINDER, LA (KPLC) - For two decades the Allen Correctional Center has been the home away from home for thousands of convicted criminals. Tuesday area dignitaries along with members of the community celebrated the facility's 20th anniversary.
"What we are here to celebrate today is an example of the best partnership that can exist between the private sector and public sector," said Richard Stalder, former Secretary of Louisiana Department of Corrections.
Partnering with the GEO Group, the all-male medium security facility has been outsourced by the state to house prisoners since 1990. A milestone they say is due in part to the staff - which includes more than 20 employees who have been there since the doors opened.
"To the distinguished staff that completed 20 years of a career at the Allen Correctional Center, my hat is off to all of you guys," said David Donahue, VP of the Eastern Region.
"Doing a job that they had to do each and every day that's not an easy job. A job that most people probably wouldn't even want," said Jeff Travis, Chief of Operations Louisiana Department of Corrections. "The partnership between the Department of Corrections and GEO is about as good as it gets."
At the helm of operations, Allen Correctional Warden Terry Terrell, who admits it hasn't always been easy.
"Keeping up with the change. This is a changing business. The methods we used 20 years ago certainly are much different than what we use now. So it's been a challenge and it will be a challenge continuing ahead," explained Terrell.
With state and parish prisons becoming overpopulated, Terrell expects more privatization within the prison system and hopes Allen Correctional can serve as a model of success.
"I think governments across the world are trying to figure out ways to soften budget problems and throughout the United States. Certainly we hope to be a part of that solution," said Terrell.
Allen Correctional Center is located in Kinder and employs some 300 people in and around the Allen Parish area.