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Idaho considers more private prison beds

BOISE – Two out of every five prison beds in Idaho would be privately run if the Idaho Correctional Institution-Orofino is privatized, Idaho Department of Correction Director Brent Reinke told lawmakers Monday.

Idaho currently has only one private prison – the Idaho Correctional Center south of Boise, which is run by the Tenn.-based Corrections Corporation of America. ICC operates about 27 percent of the state’s prison beds.

But that percentage will steadily grow over the coming two years. The state expects to open another 628 beds at ICC by July, boosting the percentage of private beds in Idaho to 33 percent. Another 400 private beds are slated to open a year later at the new Correctional Alternative Placement Program. That would bring Idaho’s total private bed percentage to 37 percent. Idaho has more than 7,200 inmates.

Idaho Department of Correction officials announced this month they were preparing a formal request for information to see if any private prison companies would be interested in taking over the 500-bed Idaho Correctional Institution-Orofino. If the switch were made, 43 percent of the states prison beds would be privately operated.

It costs about $48 a day to house Idaho inmates in state-run prisons, compared to $40 a day at the new private beds at the Idaho Correctional Center, according to the department. Housing prisoners out-of-state at private facilities costs nearly $62 per inmate per day.

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