Lawmakers Push to Ditch Private Prisons

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Two Democratic state lawmakers want Idaho to sever all ties with private prison companies, and say they’ll vigorously pursue legislation on the issue next year.

Reps. John Gannon and Mat Erpelding made the request in a letter sent to the Idaho Board of Correction on Wednesday, contending the move is needed in light of Idaho’s history with private prison contractor Corrections Corporation of America, and because of a recent FBI investigation into CCA. The U.S. Department of Justice announced last week that while investigators didn’t find evidence of a federal criminal violation, they did find miscommunication problems and other issues with the state correction department and Idaho State Police.

The lawmakers said the Department of Correction has done an excellent job of taking over the formerly CCA-run prison in Idaho. But they also said it’s clear the state needs to get completely out of the private prison business.

Idaho still pays CCA nearly $4.5 million a year to house more than 200 prisoners at a private prison in Colorado.