The Executive Council has unanimously approved a $2.4 million contract with a Maine firm to design a new women’s prison.
Councilors approved the contract at a meeting Windham today.
Councilor Deb Pignatelli says she is pleased to see the process moving forward.
"The women's prison is totally inadequate now and I believe it isn't even safe. And so I'll be really pleased when we have a new women's prison up in Concord."
The firm, SMRT Inc. in Portland, is expected to complete plans for the prison next year. It is expected to open in 2016.
Lawmakers set aside $38 million in the state’s two-year capital budget for building the prison.
The new facility will have 224 beds and will be located near the men’s prison in Concord.