Idaho inmates break windows, start fire at medium-security Boise prison

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — More than 100 inmates broke control-room windows, overturned furniture and started a small fire in a temporary housing block at a medium-security state prison.
The disturbance at the 34-year-old Idaho State Correctional Institution began before midnight Friday and was under control by about 1 a.m. Saturday, the Idaho Department of Correction said.Four inmates suffered minor injuries, including one man who needed stitches for cuts on his head/No staff members were hurt.

The disturbance took place in a temporary housing block that had just opened Friday as part of efforts to trim costs amid a state budget crisis.
A group of 199 inmates, mostly parole violators, had been moved into the temporary quarters in a converted work building to help make room for 300 inmates that prison chief Brent Reinke wants to bring home from private facilities in Texas.
Reinke said he wasn’t certain what started the fracas — investigators were reviewing security videotapes — but it’s possible the prisoners were unhappy with their new quarters.

Reinke is trying to reduce prisoners housed outside Idaho under costly contracts with private prison companies in order to meet Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s order that agencies slash their 2009 budgets by 4 percent and 2010 budgets by up to 10 percent.

In November, Idaho had about 7,300 inmates, down from 7,370 last January. About 628 are housed in Texas and Oklahoma.


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