JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – The Alaska Department of Corrections plans to seek bids for housing inmates out of state, saying its institutions are near capacity and opening a mothballed facility will take too long.

Corrections Commissioner Nancy Dahlstrom says the proposal to send inmates outside Alaska is the best way to address immediate growth in the prison population.

The department projected an increase in inmates with the passage of legislation rolling back provisions of a criminal justice overhaul.

The department Tuesday said reopening the Palmer Correctional Center would have taken at least a year and required hiring 70 additional corrections officers.

Dahlstrom says discussions continue about whether to reopen the facility.

The department says it would require out-of-state prisons to provide rehabilitation and other programs comparable to those in Alaska.