INTERVIEW: Idaho Department of Corrections talks $500 million proposal to combat overcrowding

Listen to KID NewsRadio’s full interview with Henry Atencio from the Idaho Department of Corrections

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — The Idaho Department of Corrections discussed their proposed $500 million solution to Idaho’s growing and overcrowded prison population.

Idaho’s prison population continues to grow with experts estimating inmate numbers will reach 9,000 by June 2019, according to the Post Register. The Idaho Department of Corrections recently sent a portion of their inmates to a prison in Texas as a result of overcrowding issues. As lawmakers and experts look for solutions, a $500 million price tag is the latest proposal by the Idaho Department of Corrections.

“We’ve made a proposal to the board of correction as recently as July 2,” Henry Atencio, Director of the Idaho Department of Correction, told KID NewsRadio. “Approximately 2,100 beds is what we’re looking at constructing in Idaho. So, one of those certainly is a larger 1,500 bed facility, but there’s some smaller facilities in that proposal as well.”

Atencio said IDOC is looking to purpose the old Lincoln school in St. Anthony to remodel as an extension of the St. Anthony work camp. in addition to several other options to help with overcrowding. But, Atencio emphasized nothing has been set in stone yet.

“[It’s] important to note that none of those funding ideas have been approved,” Atencio said. “Those are just options that we’re going to review and with our state leaders and look at what’s, you know, what’s the best for Idaho today.”