Submitted by Dan Popkey on Thu, 06/16/2011 - 8:49am.
Bill Turner says "taxpayers should be furious" about troubles at the Idaho Department of Correction, including a civil rights lawsuit over the management of a private prison, double-billing by an IT vendor and the hiring of a former Otter staffer as a top manager.
In a posting titled, "Department of Corrections needs correcting," Turner urges readers to call Gov. Butch Otter and complain. Turner calls himself a "gonzo journalist" and writes as "Boise Conservative Examiner" for Examiner.com.
"Idaho taxpayers should be furious over this," writes Turner. "Idaho teachers, who are underpaid and being let go at an alarming rate should be even more outraged as the education budget was raided this past legislative session. Could those millions of wasted dollars helped ease the tax burden in Idaho? Could it have been used as tax breaks to bring business and jobs to Idaho?"
Otter spokesman Jon Hanian declined comment.
Turner cites the recent hiring of Josh Tewalt as deputy director of the Bureau of Prisons, writing, "Mr. Tewalt has been arrested three times for Driving Under the Influence. He is thirty one years old and has no college education. Aside from being familiar with how the grey bar hotel works, from having seen the inside of a cell, Tewalt has no education, training or background in corrections. It appears that Mr. Tewalt’s only qualifications are being associated with Governor Butch Otter and former Governor Kempthorne. Wow. Nice work if you can get it."
Turner also cites problems with a multi-million-dollar inmate tracking system plagued by delays and what the department alleges was double-billing by its hand-picked contractor.
Writes Turner: "(O)ne can conclude that the problems that have befallen Idaho’s prison system are systemic and start in the Governors office."
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