Idaho Will Take Over Operation Of Its Largest Privately Run Prison

By Adam Cotterell

Idaho’s governor says the state will take over operation of its largest privately-run prison. That facility has experienced more than a decade of mismanagement and other problems.

Idaho has contracted with Corrections Corporation of America for more than a decade to run the prison near Boise. The prison has seen multiple lawsuits alleging things like rampant violence. And CCA has admitted to understaffing and falsifying records. Governor Butch Otter says as a long time champion of privatization the decision to take over the prison was personally disappointing.

Otter: “I think it’s the right thing to do. Is it the desirable thing to do for me? Not necessarily. We had better hopes for outcomes in privatization.”

But Charlene Taylor sees the announcement as good news. Taylor teaches criminal justice at Boise State and studies corrections.

Taylor: “It really doesn’t seem that most private prisons are able to run their facilities at a significantly lower cost. And typically privately run prisons have, you know a lot of problems especially with issues like accountability and liability.”

Taylor says in the long term Idaho may save money by taking over the prison and fixing the CCA caused problems that have led to expensive lawsuits. According to The Associated Press, Idaho pays CCA $29 million a year to manage the more than 2000 bed facility.
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