December 29, 2007

ID & TX: remind me again - why do we send our Idaho inmates to Texas?

From the Houston Chronicle:

55 Idaho inmates sidetracked during move from Texas prison

Fifty-five Idaho inmates who were moved out of a troubled Texas prison on Thursday have been forced by a contract delay to make a temporary stop before going to their final destination... More than 500 Idaho prisoners are in Texas and Oklahoma due to overcrowding at home. The prisoners being moved are bound for the Val Verde Correctional Facility in Del Rio, Texas, after more than a year at the Dickens County Correctional Center in Spur, Texas, where one Idaho inmate killed himself in March.

Because a Texas county official has yet to approve the contract to house Idaho prisoners at Val Verde, they have first been sent 100 miles away... There, they will sleep in groups of up to 10 men on makeshift cots in day rooms until resolution of the contract allows them to complete the final 250-mile leg of their journey to Val Verde...

Department of Correction Director Brent Reinke said he learned only last week that a Texas county judge wanted a lawyer to look at the contract one last time. "It was something we did not anticipate," Reinke said. "GEO is paying the transport costs..."

This is just the latest uprooting of Idaho inmates since they were first shipped out of state in 2005. Since then, they have bounced from prison to prison in Minnesota and Texas amid allegations of abusive treatment...

Despite the stopover, GEO has a hefty incentive to make sure the move to Val Verde goes smoothly, Reinke said. The company hopes to win contracts with Idaho to build a large new prison here to help accommodate the state's 7,400 inmates. "They're really monitoring this closely, and doing a good job at this point," Reinke said. "It's not a lot different than triple bunking..."

Great: when you get to the intersection of prison politics and institutional indifference, the two start hot-bunking.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't get this. How is sending someone half a continent away, triple bunking them, and taking away any programming they might have good for recidivism rates? How is moving people due to contractual disputes (and presumably locking them down as is the national standard when inmates are moved, and, as is the process in any bureaucracy, losing property, inmate account funds, phone privileges, mislaying their mail, effectively disappearing them from their loved ones, as well as everything else that goes along with frequent inmate moves) morally fathomable & constitutional (esp. considering private facilities don't have immunity protections that public facilities do). This is what we get when a generation ago courts upheld this absurd system and legislatures care more about demagoguing issues than addressing them.