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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Corrections funding changes balance out to spending less

In a complicated series of motions in the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee this morning, the Idaho Department of Correction, while coming in for several supplemental appropriations to add funding for the current year, ended up with less money that it had before. That’s because the increased costs were more than offset by savings in other areas.

The department asked lawmakers to cover $223,100 in legal fees from the ongoing Balla case; $153,000 to cover a settlement in a lawsuit from former employees of the Idaho Correctional Institution at Orofino; and other expenses being covered from dedicated funds, including two additional guards to oversee inmates working in a new ag worker program.

Four other changes showed savings. They include a $1.6 million savings on medical services, because the new contract didn’t go up as much as originally anticipated; $442,000 savings at the Idaho State Correctional Center because reconciliations showed the amount budgeted for personnel there, at the prison the state took over from the Corrections Corp. of America last summer, were over-estimated by 4.6 percent; and another $159,900 in savings in the Correctional Alternative Placement Program because per-inmate fees didn’t rise as much as was originally anticipated.

In addition, a Justice Reinvestment Initiative program that allocated $500,000 this year to train probation and parole officers is only expected to spend $338,700 before the end of the current fiscal year, so that amount also is being reduced, by $161,300. The funding changes won unanimous support from JFAC, in a series of nine motions.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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