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Posts published in “Day: July 6, 2007”

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.

A Nelson decider?

Oregon State Representative Donna Nelson, a McMinnville Republican, has variously been on or off sundry lists of House Republicans who might not or will not run again in 2008. Our speculation has been that she won't; the ruling today from the state Elections Division may tip the balance that way.

Reports surfaced last year that Nelson had some issues with her campaign finance reporting, which may have had to do with haste: For much of the year she apparently figured she was being lightly challenged and raised little money, and discovered her Democratic challenger (Sal Peralta) was on the verge of beating her.

The Division cited 13 violations of campaign reporting law, none criminal.