January 3, 2014 in Idaho

Idaho to take over operation of scandal-plagued, privately run prison

By The Spokesman-Review
Charlie Litchfield photo

FILE - In this June 15, 2010 file photo, the Idaho Correctional Center is shown south of Boise, Idaho.
(Full-size photo)

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter said this morning he’s ordering the state to stop soliciting bids from private companies to run the Idaho Correctional Center and instead have the state take over operation of the scandal-plagued prison.

The state prison south of Boise had been run by the Corrections Corp. of America, the nation’s largest private prison operator, but that company already had announced that it would leave Idaho and not bid on another contract to run the ICC.

The prison has been the target of multiple lawsuits over inmate violence and was nicknamed the “Gladiator School.”

Corrections Corp. of America also was found to be under-staffing the prison.

The second-largest private prison operator in the nation, GEO Group, has said it isn’t interested in running the Idaho prison.

Otter said this morning at the AP Legislative Preview that he views the move toward state control of the prison as disappointing.

“It’s disappointing because I am a champion of privatization,” Otter told reporters.

But he said the move is “necessary” and “the right thing to do.”

He added, “Is it the desirable thing to do for me? Not necessarily, because we had better hopes for outcomes in privatization.”

Otter said the state will move to take over operations at the prison by June 30.

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