Ohio is 1st in US to sell prison to private co.

By JULIE CARR SMYTH | September 1, 2011 | 1:45 PM EDT

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An 11-year-old lock-up along on the shores of Lake Erie in Ohio has become the first state prison in the nation to be sold to a private company.

Lake Erie Correctional Institution in northeastern Ohio's Ashtabula (ash-tuh-BYOO'-luh) County is the only one of five state prisons up for sale that will be sold, state officials said Thursday. It's going to Corrections Corporation of America for $72.7 million.

The four other prisons for sale didn't generate advantageous offers.

Utah-based Management Training Corporation won rights to operate two facilities in Marion, Ohio, as a single prison camp; and a privately run state prison in Lorain County will be returned to state control.

Ohio will save an estimated $13 million annually with the moves, part of Republican Gov. John Kasich's (KAY'-siks) budget-cutting efforts.