By Ruth Brown, Idaho Reports
The Idaho Department of Correction hopes to take over operations of the privately-run prison outside Boise known as the Correctional Alternative Placement Program.
IDOC Director Josh Tewalt presented his budget request Tuesday to the Joint-Finance Appropriations Committee. The full budget request for Fiscal Year 2024 came in at $346 million, while the governor’s recommendation came in at $357 million.
Notably, Tewalt asked for $2.5 million in one-time funding to help IDOC take over the operations of CAPP, a 442-bed prison. The prison is currently run by the Management Training Corporation, a private prison company. In 2022, IDOC paid off the lease for the prison and the property was transferred into state ownership.
That facility is used for male residents who are completing retained jurisdictions, commonly called rider programs. In a rider program, the resident is required to complete intensive treatment and educational programing while in the prison and if successful, a judge could agree to let them serve the rest of their sentence out on probation.
Tewalt said if the state takes over operations, it would still be used for the rider programming.
While IDOC would need the $2.5 million in one-time funding, Tewalt told the committee there would be a long-term annual savings for the state, and that the move would increase flexibility for IDOC beds.
He hopes that nearly every employee working at CAPP now will be hired on as a state employee to keep the facility operational. Currently, those workers are employed by Management Training Corporation. IDOC’s budget includes requests for additional full-time positions to cover that employment transfer.
Tewalt said the transfer would ultimately result in a $774,800 reduction in annual costs.
“It increases operational efficiency for our system. Despite our great partnership and mutual respect of Management Training Corporation, they are obligated to manage through contract,” Tewalt told the committee. “They are obligated to manage through specific terms and conditions, and they base their per diem based on those.”
In 2014, IDOC took over the Correctional Corporation of America privately-run prison, which is now known as Idaho State Correctional Center. Gov. Butch Otter ordered that takeover after a series of lawsuits and allegations about CCA’s operations.
Tewalt hopes the state can take over operations at CAPP by July 1, 2023.
JFAC and the Legislature must first approve the funding before the shift can happen.