Friday, January 3, 2014

Otter Wants Keys to Private Prison Back

Posted By on Fri, Jan 3, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Following 16 years of scandal and lawsuits, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter asked the Idaho Board of Correction to move away from having a private contractor operate the Idaho Correctional Center.

"It is apparent to me that our goal of consistently successful day-to-day operation is better served at this time by the State of Idaho taking a more direct management role at ICC,” Gov. Otter wrote in a letter to Board of Correction Chairman Robin Sandy. “Reviewing our own experience and those of prison facilities throughout the country makes it increasingly clear that State control of custodial functions within the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC) at this time—particularly involving the close-custody security level required for ICC inmates—is a better way to ensure best practices, public safety and the public confidence we all work to achieve."

In April 2013, the Corrections Corporation of America admitted that it had falsified staffing records at the privately run prison, thus violating CCA's contract with the state of Idaho. The admission came after an investigation by the Idaho State Police and an internal review found that correctional officers claimed that they had staffed security positions at ICC, when in fact, the posts had been left vacant. Nearly 4,800 hours during a seven-month period were falsified.

In November 2012, eight inmates filed a lawsuit against CCA, alleging that the private prison operator was working with prison gangs to control the Boise facility.

According to an October 2011 Associated Press report, CCA ran the most violent lockup in the Gem State. AP obtained records that showed between September 2007 and September 2008, ICC had 132 inmate-on-inmate assaults, compared to just 42 at the state-run Idaho State Correctional Institution. Additionally, in 2008, ICC had more assaults than all other Idaho prisons combined, according to the AP.

The complaint alleged that CCA "fosters and develops criminal gangs" at its Boise lockup. It also alleged that prison housing supervisors "ask permission from gang leaders" before moving anyone new into an empty cell.

In June 2013, the three-member Board of Correction decided not to renew its options with CCA when its current contract expires Sunday, June 30, 2014.

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