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Privately Run Prisons To Measure Up

Idaho’s decadelong experiment with prison privatization has failed, so Gov. Butch Otter had little choice when he reluctantly pulled the plug last week. The promise of incarceration at a lower cost was never fulfilled, and the 2,080-bed facility south of Boise became mired in controversies over inmate violence, lax oversight and possible fraud. Before the state even took the plunge, a 2001 U.S. Justice Department survey of privatization across the country concluded, “The promises of 20 percent savings in operational costs have simply not materialized.” Sure enough, a 2012 Associated Press investigation showed the state could meet or beat the contractual cost of running the prison. Otter grudgingly reached the same conclusion last week, saying the Department of Corrections could run it “very, very close” to the $29 million Corrections Corp. of America was being paid annually/Spokesman-Review Editorial Board. More here.

Question: Lowest wages in the country. Underfunded education system. Privatizing prison fiasco. I can think of only two reasons to vote for Otter in the GOPrimary this spring. Russ Fulcher. Thoughts?

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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