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Idaho Democrats Push for Privately Running Prison

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Democratic lawmakers are urging the Board of Correction to put Idaho’s largest prison back under state control instead of contracting with another private prison operator. The letter signed by 16 of the Legislature’s 20 Democrats was delivered Tuesday by an unexpected messenger: Republican Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s spokesman, Mark Warbis.

Warbis said there was no “hidden message” to Otter’s decision to deliver the Democrats’ message to the board. Instead, he said Democratic leaders approached the governor last week after they learned Otter was open to all options for running the Idaho Correctional Center.

Corrections Corporation of America operates the prison for $29 million a year. The Idaho State Police is investigating CCA for possible contract fraud, and CCA has admitted understaffing ICC in violation of a federal court order.

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