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Idaho behind bars

cell Some years back, when Idaho started getting into the business of outsourcing prisoner control to private contractors, we predicted that investigative scandal stories would be on their way, the only question being how long that would take.

Took a little longer than we thought, owing mainly to a decline in investigative reporting. But, coming some days after a report on how Idaho has one of the highest incarceration rates in the country, here we are.

From a report by John Miller (at Boise) of the Associated Press: “Hundreds of pages of documents obtained by The Associated Press through an open-records request show Idaho did little monitoring of out-of-state inmates, despite repeated complaints from prisoners, their families and a prison inspector. More than 140,000 U.S. prison beds are in private hands, and inmates’ rights groups allege many such penitentiaries tolerate deplorable conditions and skimp on services to increase profits.”

The story focused on an Idaho prisoner being held by a private contractor in Texas, until he escaped by slashing his throat with a razor blade.

This AP report is today’s must-read.

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