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Top Kansas Lawmakers Approve Building New Prison

Kansas Department of Corrections

Kansas is moving forward with a plan to have the nation's largest private-prison operator build a new state prison.

Top Kansas legislators gave their final approval Wednesday to the project during a meeting with Republican Gov. Sam Brownback. A state law authorizing the new prison in Lansing required a final go-ahead from the Legislature's top eight leaders.

Tennessee-based CoreCivic will build a new, 2,400-bed prison to replace the state's oldest and largest prison in Lansing.

Kansas will pay for the project over 20 years through a lease with the company and spend a total $362 million. The state will oversee day-to-day operations.

The legislative leaders split 5-3 over the project. The department has faced skepticism about whether the lease-purchase deal is the most cost-effective option.