Idaho’s state Department of Correction is managing 500 more offenders now than it did a year ago, with $28 million less in funding, Corrections Director Brent Reinke just informed JFAC. The department, he said, is working “to really try to do a much better job managing our population.” That’s included closing 150 costly state beds, including beds at the maximum security prison and the Southern Idaho Correctional Institution, in favor of less-costly housing for prisoners including new beds at the privately operated Idaho Correctional Center. Closing those state beds meant the department could eliminate 16 positions, Reinke said. However, he said the furloughs and other money-saving moves the department has been making are “not sustainable” for continuing to appropriately manage the inmate population. The state has 7,338 prison inmates, as of this morning. A relatively stable inmate population has helped lower costs.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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