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Idaho brings out-of-state prisoners home

BOISE — Idaho’s venture into shipping inmates out of state to relieve overcrowding is over, for now.

The Idaho Department of Correction Friday completed the transport of 188 inmates from an Oklahoma prison back to Idaho.

State prison director Brent Reinke called the move “a milestone” for his agency to celebrate.

The return of the inmates was made possible, in part, by the opening of 628 new beds at the Idaho Correctional Center south of Boise, as well as Reinke’s efforts to slow total population growth.

Idaho began shipping inmates elsewhere in October 2005 and the count reached its peak in July 2008 when 722 inmates were housed outside Idaho.

But terrible conditions at a private Texas prison, guard abuses and the March 2007 suicide of one Idaho inmate in solitary confinement raised questions if inmates outside the state were being treated appropriately.

Keeping inmates in Idaho is cheaper for taxpayers; it costs about $40 daily per inmate at the Idaho Correctional Center, less than the $61 daily cost at the private Oklahoma facility.

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