BOISE -- Idaho's Governor says the state should prepare to step in and operate Idaho's largest private prison by July 1.
The move underscores the severed ties between Idaho and the Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America, the current operator of the Idaho Correctional Center.
Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter told gathered members of the media Friday that his goal was convince the Idaho Board Of Correction to shift its focus from finding another private prison contractor to assuming operation of the Idaho Correctional Center just outside of Boise.
The facility houses approximatley one-quarter of the state's encarcerated population.
“After thoroughly reviewing all the facts and issues, as well as the heightened level of judicial oversight of operations there, 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,” Governor Otter wrote in a letter to Board of Correction Chairman Robin Sandy.
Otter wrote that he'd been convinced of financial support by members of the Idaho legislature's Joint Finance Advisory Committee. The Board of Correction is expected to meet as soon as possible to consider the request.
Idaho prison leaders went looking for a new company to run the state's largest prison after Corrections Corporation of America admitted to understaffing and overbilling for its work operating the Idaho Correctional Center.
Officers with the Idaho State Police are currently investigating whether CCA's understaffing amounted to a crime or civil violation.
ICC opened in July 2000 as the first state-owned, privately-operated facility. The prison, which can house 2,080 male offenders, was built on state property by Corrections Corporation of America and is currently operated by CCA.
The management contract with Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America expires July 1, 2014. The CCA has a $29.9 million contract with the State of Idaho to operate the prison.