Idaho kicks Corrections Corporation of America out, but work remains to bring prisoners home

On July 1, 2014, the Idaho Department of Corrections officially took back control of the Idaho Correctional Center (ICC) after 14 years of operation under the private, for-profit prison company Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). As the Lewiston Tribune put it in their opinion piece in the Idaho Statesman today, “... after a long, dark chapter, Idaho has cast aside a profit motive more suited to making widgets or selling hamburgers than to warehousing human beings.” 

Kicking CCA and the profit-motive in imprisonment out of the ICC is absolutely a step in the right direction. However, we cannot forget Idaho is not completely rid of CCA quite yet. More than 200 Idaho prisoners remain locked up in a for-profit CCA prison in Burlington, Colorado. Prisoners, their families and loved ones, and Idaho taxpayers continue to pay the price for the state’s failure to prioritize real solutions to prison overcrowding.

Grassroots Leadership is excited to be partnering with the ACLU of Idaho to send a clear message to Idaho officials that shipping prisoners across state lines to for-profit prisons is not a solution. It is a costly band-aid that is ripping families apart and undermining individuals’ chances of rehabilitation.

In a statement released on July 1, ACLU of Idaho Interim Executive Director Leo Morales said, “The ACLU of Idaho applauds Governor Otter in his decision to end CCA’s contract with the state and commends IDOC for their commitment to provide inmates with a safe environment. However, CCA will still have a presence in Idaho for an unknown period of time. Due to an out-of-state prisoner contract with the private prison firm, 234 Idaho inmates are still under CCA control. It’s time to bring Idaho prisoners home and officially end all ties with CCA.”

Stay tuned in the coming months while we continue to put the pressure on to bring prisoners home!