On July 1, the Idaho Department of Corrections officially took back control of the Idaho Correctional Center (ICC) after 14 years of operation under the private prison company Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). As the Lewiston Tribune put it in their opinion piece in the Idaho Statesman July 7, "... 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, Colo. 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.
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. It's unsustainable. It's inhumane. It needs to end now.
Holly Kirby, organizer, Grassroots Leadership