BOISE, Idaho -- Idaho leaders have long promoted private prisons by saying it's cheaper for the state to outsource prison management. But an examination of comparative costs by The Associated Press shows the state has never actually done the math, and there may be no cost savings at all.
On paper the private Idaho Correctional Center appears to be $12 per inmate, per day cheaper than a similar state prison. But adjusting for known system-wide expenses and contract oversight brings the per diems to just $5 apart. The state prison also houses all the sick and geriatric inmates.
State leaders refuse to examine the issue. Department Director Brent Reinke asked the Board of Correction about four years ago if he could bid for the ICC contract. The board said no.