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BOISE -- Legislative budget writers have approved $1.9 million in spending to hire 90 guards and other prison workers for Idaho's takeover of the privately-managed Idaho Correctional Center.

The Nashville, Tenn.-based Corrections Corporation of America has operated Idaho's largest prison since it was built more than a decade ago. But earlier this year, Gov. C.L. Butch Otter announced he wanted the state to take over the facility, which has been plagued with allegations of mismanagement, rampant violence and chronic understaffing.

The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee still must approve the new operating budget for the prison -- expected to be about $25 million -- but the money for the new hires had to be approved right away to give the state time to hire and train the guards.

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