January 24, 2008

ID: "a dangerous experiment with the wrong kind of lab"

Where's the best place to locate a new "secure psychiatric treatment facility" for civilly committed, mentally ill Idahoans? Behind the concertina wire of the state pen, of course. From the Boise Weekly:

Do Iron Bars a Mental Hospital Make? - Idaho is ready to lock up more mentally unstable people. Are prisons the way to do this?

Idahoans living with mental illness are about to have their possible destinies shaped by the Idaho Legislature. In particular, those with the misfortune of needing to be locked up are about to have a possible new destination: a state prison warehouse that Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter wants to turn into a 300-bed facility to house people the state deems too dangerous to themselves or society to be free.

But even as plans for this facility roll along in the Legislature and in Otter's financial planning for the state, numerous experts worry that Idaho is conducting a dangerous experiment with the wrong kind of lab...

Meanwhile, Butch's other big idea - changing Idaho law to let prison companies own and operate for-profit lockups - is getting a skeptical reception, despite thousands spent by national prison profiteers on lobbying and campaign contributions.

Via I Speak of Dreams.