Report: Solution Needed Now to Avoid Prison Overcrowding in Near Future

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The Idaho Legislature's independent, nonpartisan Office of Performance Evaluations offered a sobering report on Idaho's prison system this week.

The OPE reported to lawmakers that they needed to start working on long-term plans to address a growing prison population and an aging prison infrastructure. The Department of Correction estimates that the state will be short 588 beds this year and more than 1,200 beds by 2015.

According to the report, Idaho prisons need to "replace inefficient, poorly designed housing units and support staffing standards." Although the IDOC had updated its staffing plans since 2010, the OPE said the "department does not have enough staff to continuously observe all inmates in all housing units."

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