The Arkansas Department of Corrections will ask the 2009 Legislature to allocate $200.7 million of the state’s $311 million in surplus general revenue for a number of construction projects, including two 1,000-bed prisons.

The request was approved last week by the state Board of Corrections.

More than 1,000 state prisoners currently are being held in county jails across Arkansas because the system does not have space for them.

The two large prisons would cost $153 million, but the system is also considering a single new facility with more than 2,000 beds.

The Corrections Department is also asking for $12.5 million for debt service on bonds issued for prison projects, $12 million to expand the women’s prison, and $12.5 million for upgrades at several facilities.

The 2007 Legislature appropriated $937 million of surplus revenue and leftover general improvement fund money to various state construction projects and other one-time expenditures. The Corrections Department asked for $50 million from the surplus, but received only $19 million.

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