WASHINGTON - The Justice Department is exploring whether to create a state revolving fund program, seeded with federal money and leveraged with tax-exempt bonds, to help finance the construction of about $6 billion a year of court and prison facilities.

A private study commissioned by the department's National Institute of Justice has concluded that a program modeled on the Environmental Protection Agency's 50-state revolving fund system could go a long way toward addressing a lengthy list of facilities mandated by court orders against prison overcrowding and other problems.

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