Prisons Need To Be Government Operated

The move by the Idaho Board of Corrections to dump the private contractor running part of the prison system is good, but it only goes half way.

Idaho Department of Correction won’t be allowed to submit its own bid or take over operations at the prison south of Boise, because Board of Correction Chairwoman Robin Sandy said that would amount to expanding state government.

The three-member Board of Correction made the decision during a meeting Tuesday evening, opting not to let an automatic two-year extension of CCA’s $29.9 million contract kick in when the current contract expires on June 30, 2014.

Allowing a private for-profit firm run a portion of the prison system is absurd. It would be like having part of the State Police run by a rent-a-cop firm.

Certain things are proper venues for government like schools, sewer systems, roads, schools, parks, etc. The Idaho constitution calls for a department of corrections, but does not address private contractors.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. What really needs to happen is a thorough review of who really needs to be in prison and for how long.

    There is no argument we need to keep violent offenders behind bars for as long as possible. A step in the right direction of decriminalization of marijuana has no doubt put a dent in the whole paradigm of corrections in Washington, Oregon and Colorado.

    When Legislators wake up to just how tough they want to be on crimes having no victims against what it costs to keep someone behind bars we may see some reductions in prison costs to taxpayers. I don’t see that happening in the near term.

  2. Excellent brainer
    ‘Allowing a private for-profit firm run a portion of the prison system is absurd’
    By this as well it could very well reduce the many incarerated with alternatives as there is no profit associated with keeping inmates past their release dates.

  3. Grumpy ole guy
    Jun 19, 2013, 9:38 pm

    Another example of the strong thread of libertarianism which seems to be woven so firmly thoroughly into the fabric of Idaho’s political make-up. Some how many folk have come to believe that to make the operation of prisons, jails, schools and other public functions private we will save on public fund expenditure and that trumps all other considerations.

  4. All you manage to do is make a lot more harden criminals when you put minor criminals behind bars in the big pen. Also they are less likely to be employable.

  5. It is not really absurd from one stand point. If memory serves me correctly there was a story a few years back about judges in this state being involved in these prisons as stock holders? I may be mistaken, Dave please correct me.. like I had to ask for that…lol.

    Whether or not govt. can operate these facilities in a more cost efficient manner should be a no brainer a non profit agency can always run something cheaper than a for profit agency, hence the “profit” The real question, to me is this, who can run it better? Cheapest does not always mean best, if we are running a revolving door facility cheaply are we really cutting costs? If we spent more money on rehab and other programs, took the time to evaluate who could be helped and who couldn’t I think, in the long run we would be money ahead.

    This will not be accomplished by a for profit company, not company is going to cut it’s own income stream. It has to be done by a govt. that has the intelligence to see this as something other than a warehouse.

  6. The pain of poor performance lives on long after the thrill of low price fades.

  7. Does my ears good to hear Republicans choking on their mantra “no big government,” while the private enterprise system they so love, is subjecting the taxpayers of Idaho to hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage awards and attorney fees! What will their excuse be when the next “private enterprise,” steals money AND allows the inmates to beat each other to death while guards watch?

  8. Contracting out is a no brainer on NOT! We recently saw how the Misdemenor Probation office was out of control.
    If Idaho incarcerates then they need to Manage these facilities.
    The ACLU keeps steping on board due to inmates civil rights being violated left and right. Yes, they have rights. The public has no clue how many lawsuites are brought about due to this Private Prison against IDOC.
    ICC and IDOC ship inmates around like cattle and even to other states. We have out os state inmates in ICC, Idaho as well. Yet they ship Idaho residence to other states – non-violent offenders. Why? Much of it is related to Funds and why they will not release so many after their time.
    I really would appreciate to know whom these three electies are and make sure they do not own stock in this situation in order to make sure it’s not for profit.

  9. Sure that’s fine, but how about the government become somewhat more lean so that the private sector does not run circles around them. PS: I see ADA taxes are going up and are collection of new RINOs is doing/saying what about it?

  10. There should never be a profit motive in Corrections.

  11. Robert, you hit 2 of the points directly on the head. Even misdemeanors make finding a job almost impossible.
    I just graduated from BSU and have been filling out apps these last couple of months, nearly every one has questions pertaining to “Criminal History” we all know what will happen to any app that has that box checked yes. No matter what it was or how old it is.

  12. If memory serves, the Corrections employee in charge of the bidding process back when CCA won the contract went to work for CCA right before they won the bid. Also, didn’t the former DOC director, Spaulding, also go to work for CCA? Finally, the bid process that was selected by the Department was the type that did not permit a best and final offer, which could have saved a lot of money for the state. The whole private prison thing started out real shady and has gotten worse.

  13. Deb, it is very easy to find their names and pictures it took me about 2 minutes. Now finding out their holdings might be another story.
    The whole CJ industry and make no mistake it is mainly an industry needs a revamp from the bottom up. Laws need to be written in a logical manner… not the super secret handshake method in place today. LE and the judiciary need some sort of ADULT leadership and over sight neither have much if any kind over leadership and oversight now.

  14. Rod in SE Boise
    Jun 24, 2013, 12:08 pm

    Government employees are cheaper than contractors. For example, that guy Snowden was a contractor employee making $200,000/year. A government employee doing the same job would earn about $70,000/year.

  15. Channel 7 exposed that the Governor was not only a stock holder but receiving funding for his campaign. It is believed the Head of the Parole Board is also and may others within the system. CCA has promised all states they will keep their prison full to a 90% capacity. There are two other states pulling out from CCA as well for similar situations.
    This prison has hit National news more than once due to its violence and lack of staff within the facility. Many of the Non-Violent and minor offenses come out so hardened with efforts to stay alive inside. This in turn is a domino effect for those seeking to be released at the end of their term and turned down to stick around a little longer… It can take four years to get release when only given 1 ½ years. The Parole Board needs a good review as well outside their political front porch. Thnk on how releases with programs outside would also reduce the current Welfare system for families. Finding jobs with any offence here is grief but better than inside. Washington does all they can outside first. Not everything is a Felony there like Idaho and then people can vote at some point and move forward.
    Every facility has it’s issues but not like ICC. We’ll see how the New Warden at ICC works out.
    The fact that they can brag on reducing meals to feeding inmates at .81 per day is horrific from the prior $2.50. There cannot possibly be any value in make believe food and then wonder why there are anger issues inside. How the Health Board is not apart of this mission is criminal. Are they making up for all lawsuits against them ?

  16. LOL…. but would the govt employee have done the right thing like Snowden did?

  17. Rod in SE Boise
    Jun 24, 2013, 3:35 pm

    tom, that’s an altogether different issue.

  18. The main reason is that people are afraid of their shadow today. Not only that but when some one does something to even get county jail they are almost assured not to get a job afterward. Until the system that has been begged for for years gets a revamp we are doomed…. There’s an old say about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome…. As to the parole thing… the queen is known to be just about as crooked as they come.

  19. yup.. but you brought it up….

  20. It is understood the queen is ending her term at the end of the year. We will see.
    As to staff and administrators at ICC and many at IDOC – many have records themselves. They hire for less wages but do hold employment. The good doctor at ICC is not even allow to practice in any medical facility here other than a men’s facility. 2011 he was hired by ICC.
    Perhaps with this review they will stop having their spendy meetings in Sun Valley so more of the Public can be aware of What’s Up!

  21. lol… after how long in what was supposed to be a limited term… 4 years if memory serves me right….

  22. This is what happens when businessmen get the idea you can run government like a business and the ill begotten belief they can save money by privatizing something takes hold.

    Bottom line, government does not produce a product. They provide certain constitutionally mandated services. When you privatize something, some jug-head Libertarian will try to measure performance by comparing profit vs loss. When they realize there is no profit, they will try to create profit by cutting out everything they can to increase their profitability.

    Funny but where were all these arguments against privatization years ago when this moronic idea was presented the first time? It’s time the Republican party took responsibility for this mess, and kicks out the tea party libertarian influence that has corrupted it now for some time.

  23. That is a good question No Brainer. Our Govenor jumped on the band wagon to bring CCA/ICC on however he also received funds for his campaign in exchange. This of course lead to Stockholders within our system. Like our economy it seems to be crashing currently. IDOC cuts the cost and boast on how they have reduced an inmate’s meals from $2.21 per day to .81 cents. Limited Medical inside are reduced as well. Then we ask how many of these inmates have families on Welfare all due to the extended Stays of inmates whom aren’t being released timely for Federal Funding. Health and Welfare needs to step up to the plate as well with all the facilities.

  24. I don’t believe per se inmates are being held in the system longer just to get more federal money. There are more than enough people who need their turn in a prison who never make it there because there is not enough room. What I do believe is what facilities that do exist are underfunded by Libertarian Tea Party types who think big business is the answer to everything. These same jugheads are the ones who will not look at who really needs to be in prison and who would better serve in a program.

    They think saving money at all costs is the answer to everything regardless of the fact they are creating an inhumane environment I wouldn’t let my worst enemy be housed in. The “fluff” they cut out is usually the needed programs that help rehabilitate and reduce recidivism. Incarceration alone never works. Incarceration serves two purposes. Punishment and protection of the public.

    As a punishment tool, there is a limit to it’s effectiveness. In a county jail for instance, studies have shown the shock and awe part of being jailed for a first time offender wears off after about 14 days then actually starts becoming counterproductive. Not everyone jailed needs to be there for the protection of society part. There are some who are dangerous but most are not. Give them their 1-14 days of punishment and then transfer them into a program. Oh wait, we cut that part out to make our Libertarian leaning governors friends happy. So we are left with what again? Oh yeah, Punish, punish, punish. Build more no fluff program prisons so my rich friends can get richer.

  25. Government out of control with a very stupid public economics policy: We have too many people in prisons that never needed to be entered into the system to start with. Overzealous policing/courts and unreasonable punishment for minor crimes of the young followed by a crooked system like the Ada Co. probation which never stops harassing them. These people become unproductive forever over something as minor as an open container citation.

    Policing and prison systems have become a huge business for government and the private sector. Go look up some statistic on America vs. anyone else to see how we are locking up way too many people just so our police and prison systems can have larger and larger budgets and payroll.

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