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HRDC opposes prison siting on former coal mine in eastern Kentucky

WKYT, March 31, 2015.

Proposed Letcher County federal Prison brings opposistion


Whitesburg, KY- The proposed construction of a federal prison in Letcher County has drawn opposition from The Human Rights Defense Center, a non-profit organization that advocates on behalf of people held in U.S. detention facilities.

In a release, the group claims the prison would have negative health impacts on the surrounding communities from prison sewage waste, health concerns for inmates who will be forced to use contaminated drinking water, impacts to forests and local waterways, possible threats to endangered Indiana bats and because the group alleges the prison is not actually needed.

Nearly 400 people attended a public informational meeting held by the Federal Bureau of Prisons back on March 12 when it was announced that the two prison sites in consideration are about 753 acres in Payne Gap owned by Pike County road builder Leonard Lawson and 700 acres in Roxana owned by Letcher County residents Rondall Meade and Sherwood Ison.

If built, the United States penitentiary would house up to 1,088 high-security male inmates. A federal prison camp would house up to 128 minimum-security male inmates. Together, they would employ about 300 full-time employees.

A Final Environmental Impact Statement for a proposed United States penitentiary (and federal prison camp) in Letcher County could be completed and released by summer, according to Tom Webber, BOP chief of Capacity Planning and Construction Branch.

To see the groups complete letter of opposition to the prison

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