Idaho's governor says the corrections department will take over
operation of the largest privately run prison in the state after more
than a decade of mismanagement and other problems at the facility.
Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America has contracted
with the state to run the prison since it was built in 1997. Taxpayers
currently pay CCA $29m per year to operate the 2,080-bed prison south of
Governor C L "Butch" Otter made the announcement Friday at a preview of the upcoming legislative session.
For years, Otter has been a champion of privatizing certain sectors of government, including prisons.
In 2008, he floated legislation to change state laws to allow private
companies to build and operate prisons in Idaho and import out-of-state
inmates. In 2008, he suggested privatizing the 500-bed state-run Idaho
The CCA prison has been the subject of multiple lawsuits alleging
rampant violence, understaffing, gang activity and contract fraud by
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
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
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.
Recently, board chairwoman Robin Sandy said she opposed the idea because she didn't want to grow state government.