Otter Dumps Private Prison Plan, Says ID Will Own New Facility

BOISE (AP) — Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has abandoned legislation to completely privatize Idaho’s new prisons, relenting to lawmakers who weren’t ready to let somebody else take control the state’s correctional facilities.

Otter said Monday that Idaho still needs a prison, but that he’ll accept an arrangement in which the state owns the building and contracts with a private company to operate it.

That’s similar to the existing arrangement at the Idaho Correctional Center south of Boise.

Otter is now asking lawmakers to decide whether to bond for a new facility, or consider a lease-purchase agreement.

Representative Maxine Bell, a Jerome Republican who had criticized Otter’s original privatization aims, says she’s pleased the governor has changed his mind.