State efforts to build a new minimum-medium prison complex in Allegany County are moving forward. The county sent Bishop Robinson, secretary of Public Safety and Correctional Services, a list of four available construction sites. Yet while the state may appear to have surmounted major delays, uncharted political trails remain to be crossed.
The sites must fit the specifications of state construction engineers. The property owners must be willing to sell based on accepted, independent appraised values. Local citizens -- including potential neighbors of a chosen prison site -- must be reasonably receptive. And environmental interests will want assurances that a prison will not damage earth or air.
Allegany County has many economic incentives riding on finding an acceptable site. The construction of the prison would provide an immediate boost to one of Maryland's highest pockets of unemployment. Retail and supplier sales should increase substantially, as would the number of construction jobs.