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Idaho to Take Over Privately Run Prison

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Posted on Jan 4, 2014
Gianni Dominici (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Idaho Gov. C.L. Otter announced Friday that the state’s corrections department would assume operation of the largest privately run prison there after more than a decade of mismanagement and other problems.

The company getting the boot is Nashville, Tenn.-based Corrections Corporation of America. CCP had been contracted to run the prison south of Boise since its construction in 1997. Taxpayers currently dole out $29 million annually to fund operations of the 1,080-bed prison.

For years, Otter has championed the privatization of certain sectors of government, including prisons. In 2008 he proposed a change to state laws that would allow private companies to build and run prisons and import out-of-state inmates.

According to The Associated Press:

The CCA prison has been the subject of multiple lawsuits alleging rampant violence, understaffing, gang activity and contract fraud by CCA.

CCA acknowledged last year that falsified staffing reports were given to the state showing thousands of hours were staffed by CCA workers when the positions were actually vacant. And the Idaho state police is investigating the operation of the facility for possible criminal activity.

A federal judge also has held CCA in contempt of court for failing to abide by the terms of a settlement agreement reached with inmates in a lawsuit claiming high rates of violence and chronic understaffing at the prison.

Meanwhile, Idaho prison officials, led by IDOC director Brent Reinke, have lobbied to allow the agency to put together its own proposal and cost analysis for running the prison. Each time, however, Reinke and his staff have been rebuffed by the state board of correction.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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