Despite year of promises from state, Idaho State Police now says it didn’t investigate CCA

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BOISE, Idaho – Idaho State Police say they didn’t conduct an investigation following revelations that private prison company Corrections Corporation of America understaffed a prison and gave the state falsified documents to hide vacancies.

State officials had promised that there would be a criminal probe, but Capt. William Gardiner told The Associated Press on Wednesday that “no detective was assigned. There was no investigation.”

Neither the police nor the Idaho Department of Correction asked to look at CCA’s timesheet software — software that has auditing capabilities designed to catch fraud — and the police apparently didn’t interview any CCA employees. A public records request sent to Idaho State Police by the AP for investigation records was denied, with the police saying no records exist.

The Idaho Department of Correction and the Nashville, Tenn.-based CCA announced Tuesday that CCA would pay the state $1 million for understaffing.

The Department of Correction is currently in the process of taking over the 2,080-bed Idaho Correctional Center. Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, long a supporter of private prisons, announced the takeover earlier this year.

The move to end CCA’s contract, which expires June 30, came months after a report by The AP raised questions about how CCA was staffing the prison. After the AP story was published, the Department of Correction asked the State Police to investigate the prison and CCA for possible contract fraud or other problems.

CCA acknowledged last year that its employees falsified staffing records given to the state, making it look as though thousands of hours of mandatory guard posts were filled when they were actually left vacant for months.

The vacant posts and phoney records violated not only CCA’s $29-million annual contract to run the Idaho Correctional Center, but also a federal settlement agreement reached with inmates who sued claiming the understaffing led to rampant violence.

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