IDOC prepares for out-of-state move

Inmates are led down steps from an airplane
Inmates return from Oklahoma and Texas in January, 2009

The Idaho Department of Correction is preparing to send 250 inmates out of state.  Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about the move.

Q: Why is Idaho sending inmates out of state?

A:  We’re simply running out of room. All of Idaho’s correctional facilities are full and the state has been renting beds in county jails. But soon all of the available jail beds will be filled. Some of the counties are already asking for relief, so we must look beyond Idaho for solutions.


Q: Where will Idaho be sending inmates?

A: The Kit Carson Correctional Center in Burlington, Colorado.  KCCC is a medium-security prison 150 miles east of Denver.


Q:  When will the first inmates go out?

A:   The first group of 250 inmates will go out early to mid-August. We expect to have 450 inmates at KCCC by this time next year and could eventually have up to 800 inmates at some point in the future.


Q:  How did Idaho choose the Colorado facility?

A:  Two proposals were submitted -- one for KCCC, another for a detention center in Hardin, Montana. Four IDOC evaluators with experience in contracts, security and health care examined the two proposals and conducted on-site inspections of both facilities. The evaluators took 33 criteria into account and weighted them based on their importance to IDOC. The results showed that KCCC was clearly the best choice.


Q:  What are some of the factors that made the KCCC the best choice?

A:  It comes down to security, experience and room for growth.

●          KCCC is more secure. It has a stun fence and a perimeter detection system. The Montana facility does not.

●          The Montana facility has never been occupied. The company that operates the facility would have had to hire a staff and develop systems to run it.

●          KCCC has been up and running for years. It has staff and procedures in place. As a result, its operator was able to contractually agree to specific terms and describe in writing how it will meet those terms.

●          KCCC is led by a veteran correctional professional with more than 10 years of experience as a warden.

●          KCCC currently houses 720 inmates for the Colorado Department of Corrections. The CDOC’s inspectors have found the facility to be in compliance with Colorado’s standards.

●          Idaho has room to grow at KCCC.  The facility currently has enough beds for 768 Idaho inmates. The Montana facility has a limit of 450. 


Q:  What kind of educational and programming activities will be available to Idaho inmates at the Colorado facility?

A: KCCC will offer Idaho inmates a range of activities including education programs, work, recreation and wellness, library, hobby craft, religious services, dayroom activities, special events and other opportunities. KCCC also has a computer lab and courseware which will allow Idaho inmates to work toward Microsoft Office Specialist certification. None of the inmates who will be sent to Colorado will be close enough to their parole eligibility date to qualify for the types of education and treatment programming that would likely be required by the parole commission as a condition for their release. As inmates near their PED, they will return to Idaho for that programming.


Q:   The ACLU says the company that operates KCCC has allowed an unacceptable level of violence at another facility it operates, Idaho Correctional Center south of Boise. What is IDOC doing to make sure Idaho inmates will be safe in Colorado?

A:   Two teams of monitors will be inside KCCC to make sure that Idaho’s inmates are safe and that the company is doing what it promised. One team is from the Colorado Department of Corrections. Under the terms of a agreement with the state of Idaho, the Colorado team will be in the facility on a regular basis. The other team will be made up of veteran correctional professionals from IDOC’s Contract Prison Oversight Unit. They’ll be on the ground on a monthly basis to meet with inmates and listen to their concerns. The contract contains specific provisions that spell out measures aimed at keeping Idaho’s inmates safe, and IDOC is committed to assuring that the company lives up to those terms.


Q:  How much more expensive is it to incarcerate inmates out of state?

A:  It will cost $54.19 a day to incarcerate an inmate at the Colorado facility. The average cost per day of incarcerating an inmate at a correctional facility in Idaho in FY11 was $52.82.  The state pays Idaho counties $42.50 to incarcerate state inmates in county jails.


Q:  How does IDOC decide which inmates are sent out of state?

A:  A variety of factors is considered including the inmate’s custody level, disciplinary history, crime type, time to release, medical and mental condition, and work status. Inmates who have been convicted of serious, violent crimes or have a history of breaking institutional rules will not be considered. Inmates who are within three years of possibly being released on parole or finishing their terms also will not go. Inmates who are assigned to IDOC work centers and work camps will probably not be considered for out-of-state placement. Security and protection concerns reported by inmates are also taken into account.


Q:  When will the inmates who are sent to Colorado return?

A:  We do not have a scheduled return date, but the inmates will likely be out of state for a period of several years. Much will depend on the rate of growth in the size of the inmate population here in Idaho and the ability to bring new beds online here at home.


Q: When was the last time IDOC sent inmates out of state?

A: IDOC had inmates out of state from October 2005 until July 2009.  The out-of-state population was at its highest from July to September of 2008.  During that time, 715 Idaho inmates were incarcerated in correctional facilities in Sayre, Oklahoma and Littlefield, Texas.

Story published: 07/19/2012
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