The Idaho Department of Correction plans to spend nearly $156 million to build one prison and expand another in Ada County.
The state plans to build an 848-bed prison for women, and a 280-bed housing unit for men inside an existing prison, according to a request for qualifications published by the Division of Public Works. The document is a request for qualified construction and design firms to bid for the project.
“Currently IDOC does not have enough beds to house all incarcerated individuals in state-run facilities and must rely on out-of-state prison contracts and county jails,” the request said.
The new women’s prison — with 800 minimum-security beds and 48 medium-custody beds — would allow the Department of Correction to transfer 719 women from the Southern Idaho Correctional Institution, freeing the space for minimum-custody men, according to the request. The new prison, located “near the IDOC prison complex south of Boise,” would also allow the women’s prison to add capacity for 129 more new prisoners than the Southern Idaho Correctional Institution now holds.
Forty-eight of the new beds would be for reception and diagnostics — which are used to evaluate arriving prisoners — as well as segregation and medical units.
“Currently, there are only eight medical isolation beds for women statewide, all located in Pocatello,” the request said. The new beds will reduce the need to transport prisoners to and from Pocatello.
The women’s prison would be about 190,000 square feet, and the men’s unit would be about 44,000 square feet in size. State officials have set a combined budget of $155.8 million for the two projects.
The new men’s housing unit will consist of 140 beds for residents “with special ambulatory needs,” as well as 140 beds for the prison’s general population, according to the request. It would be inside the Idaho State Correctional Institution, an existing prison.
“In a period of profound social, technological, and environmental shifts, the built correctional environment must respond to the changing conditions,” the request said. “These facilities are not intended to be hardened correctional structures and should reflect spaces that promote rehabilitation and trauma-based healing environments.”
The Department of Correction has a large prison complex south of Boise, including the Idaho Maximum Security Institution and the Idaho State Correctional Institution.
Applications from firms are due Jan. 18.
In March, the Idaho Legislature approved $112 million for the new women’s prison, according to the Idaho Press. State officials plan to finalize a contract with a firm by March.