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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Idaho has more problems with private Texas prisons

The warden of a private Texas prison housing Idaho inmates has been "relieved of his duties" after complaints from Idaho. The Dickens County Correctional Center, which houses 125 Idaho inmates, made the change after an Idaho corrections team visited the large, older county jail near Lubbock, Texas, in March and reported "deficiencies."

Idaho Corrections Director Brent Reinke said problems included an absence of required educational and treatment programs, inadequate out-of-cell time, inappropriate lighting, and problems with food, clothing and cleanliness. Also, an inmate from Ada County who escaped in December and was recaptured committed suicide at the facility in early March. "The feedback I got from the team was that what they were concerned with was the Texas style of justice," Reinke said. "Texas justice is different than Idaho justice. It just is. And we want our inmates handled according to Idaho justice.”

"Ninety-eight percent of those folks are coming back to our communities,” Reinke said. “Our mission is to keep Idaho safe. … We don't want to make the matter worse, so that they come back more violent or more angry."

The state Board of Correction voted unanimously Monday to explore private prison options in Idaho as an alternative to sending inmates out of state in the future, though the state is also seeking more out-of-state beds in the meantime. Read my full story here in today’s Spokesman-Review.

Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.