Idaho would build a new 579-bed secure mental health facility at the prison complex south of Boise, under a $70 million bond plan that Gov. Butch Otter is proposing to lawmakers. “More than a quarter of the inmates in our state prison system have some level of mental illness,” the governor said. “Many can be housed safely within appropriate settings in our existing facilities. But others need higher levels of care, more treatment and more intensive intervention for their own safety and that of others.” He said, “No one likes spending money on prisons or inmates. But public safety is increasingly compromised by our inability to provide secure housing and appropriate treatment for mentally ill offenders.”
Though they didn't perhaps look happy about it, lawmakers applauded the proposal.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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