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Latest Developments Among Idaho Prisoners

The Houston Chronicle recently reported that Idaho prisoners on the way to Val Verde Correctional Facility were delayed due to further review of contract obligations by local officials.

Prisoners were being moved to Val Verde after an investigation following the suicide of Scot Noble Payne at the Dickens County Correctional Center in Spur, Texas. That facility was managed by GEO Group and Mr. Payne's suicide has resulted in increased scrutiny by Idaho and Texas public officials.

Despite the reported transfer the details had not been finalized by county officials in Del Rio where the prison is located.

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 to the Bill Clayton Detention Center in Littlefield, Texas.

GEO also manages the Val Verde prison and according to reports has a strong incentive to protect the company’s relationship with the Idaho Department of Corrections.

The company hopes to win contracts with Idaho to build a large new prison here [Texas] to help accommodate the state's 7,400 inmates.

It is quite remarkable that despite the list of GEO prison scandals in Texas, states are continuing to contract with this company. Even more striking is that Idaho continues to do so.

Recently, Texas lawmakers looked into scandals at the state's private prisons. We hope that the Texas Senate under the scrutiny of Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa will continue to monitor the contracts and develop policies and procedures that hold these private prison companies accountable.
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