Click below for Gov. Butch Otter's full announcement that he's ordering the state to take over operation of the Idaho Correctional Center, the troubled privately operated state prison south of Boise that's been the target of numerous lawsuits and scandals. Otter said he's been advised that it looks like the state can operate the prison for "very, very close to the $25 million" a year that the state has been paying the Corrections Corp. of America to operate the lockup.
C.L. “Butch” Otter
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 3, 2014
GOVERNOR OTTER CALLS FOR STATE TO TAKE REINS AT IDAHO CORRECTIONAL CENTER
(BOISE) – Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter asked the Idaho Board of Correction today to shift its focus from finding a new private contractor to preparing for the Department of Correction to assume operation of the Idaho Correctional Center.
“After thoroughly reviewing all the facts and issues, as well as the heightened level of judicial oversight of operations there, it is apparent to me that our goal of consistently successful day-to-day operation is better served at this time by the State of Idaho taking a more direct management role at ICC,” Governor Otter wrote in a letter to Board of Correction Chairman Robin Sandy.
The Governor also asked the Board to identify and thoroughly assess other noncustodial Department of Correction functions “that could be better suited to privatized operations” and to prepare a plan for implementing them “within a reasonable and responsible time certain.”
Sandy said the Board of Correction would meet as soon as possible to consider the Governor’s request. The full text of the letter is available here.
The management contract with Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America expires July 1, 2014. CCA has run ICC for the State since the facility was opened in 2000. The Department of Correction is working with CCA to resolve financial issues surrounding the falsification of records for security staffing at the prison, which holds more than 2,000 inmates – almost one-quarter of Idaho’s total State inmate population.
“Reviewing our own experience and those of prison facilities throughout the country makes it increasingly clear that State control of custodial functions within the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC) at this time – particularly involving the close-custody security level required for ICC inmates – is a better way to ensure best practices, public safety and the public confidence we all work to achieve,” the Governor wrote to Sandy.
He also cited his consultation with germane and budget-writing legislative committee leaders on the issue, and his efforts to gauge their support for meeting the significant funding and manpower needs related to staffing up and running ICC in just over six months.