The vote was unanimous as JFAC took another look at the conversion of a Prison Industries Enhancement warehouse at the Idaho Correction Center into a 304-bed minimum custody drug treatment this morning, and approved it. The panel backed a $4,675,500 supplemental appropriation for the current budget year, plus a $1,421,000 appropriation for next year. The 2008 figure is slightly below the governor’s recommendation, while the ’09 number matches his. Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Post Falls, said, “I’m really proud of the effort that Idaho is making to move away from incarceration and toward treatment. We can’t turn that boat overnight.” The new facility would open in about two years.
It would replace the PIE program, which sought to provide inmate jobs by bringing in private employers, but never really got going. The warehouse conversion has been referred to in legislative shorthand as the “PIE” project. House Appropriations Chair Maxine Bell said, “I have to tell you … this is the lease suggestive acronym I ever saw. I’ve had a hard time associating this with a metal building that we’re going to refurbish.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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