The Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnerships Authority announced that the New Beginnings Juvenile Facility Project, also known as “Nuevo Comienzo,” will not proceed to the Request for Proposals stage. This decision was made after the Puerto Rico Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation asked the P3 Authority to halt the project first proposed by the Luis Fortuño administration 18 months ago.
Corrections reportedly conducted a review and analysis of the project, concluding it would not be necessary after adopting a new public policy with respect to the maximum size of its correctional facilities for juvenile offenders.
This new policy is consistent with various discussions and exchanges with the federal court appointed monitor, after which Corrections decided that compliance with the consent decree does not require the construction of the project, the P3 Authority said in a statement issued late in the day.
“After a careful study and analysis of the project and conversations with the court monitor, [Corrections] concluded that compliance with the consent decree does not require the construction of the juvenile facility contemplated in the project,” Corrections Secretary José R. Negrón Fernández said.
“Our policy is that the juvenile institutions should not provide more than 120 beds per facility. The project included a 500 bed operation”, he added.
The would-be facility in Yauco was going to feature a campus-like design with several modules housing shared services, which would cut the agency’s need to shuttle offenders between different facilities, thus reducing associated expenses. The government spends an average of $231 per juvenile offender per day.
In May 2012, the P3 Authority announced that the project had drawn 11 proposals from local and international interested consortiums, which on Friday received a letter confirming the cancellation of the juvenile correctional center’s development.
On Friday, the agency noted that the Commonwealth has the obligation to comply with the stipulations entered under a consent decree that settled the case USA v. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Civ. No. 94-2080.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico retained jurisdiction to monitor the implementation of the settlement agreement and appointed the monitor to oversee compliance with the order. The monitor raised certain concerns regarding potential compliance risks that the project would engender for the Commonwealth.
“The Authority reiterates that this administration is committed to the delivery of new infrastructure projects using public-private partnerships,” the P3 Authority said in a statement. “The Authority has recently awarded contracts for financial advisory services for two correctional facilities and for the Caguas commuter rail project and expects to engage other advisory services in the near future.”