The House has voted to prohibit New Hampshire's corrections commissioner from transferring inmates to a private prison except in an emergency.
The House voted 197-136 Thursday to send the Senate a bill that bars the commissioner from entering into a contract with a private or for-profit group to take custody of state or county inmates.
The governor could issue an executive order declaring a corrections emergency and authorize the temporary transfer of inmates to a private facility. The transfer would have to be renewed every three months but could not be longer than 21 months.
Supporters argued it is the state's constitutional responsibility to rehabilitate inmates. Opponents argued private prisons should be considered as a way to avoid building new, costly facilities in New Hampshire.