BOISE, Idaho – After two years of refusing to comply with a federal law intended to stop prison rape, Idaho has reversed course.
Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter advised the U.S. Department of Justice in a letter Thursday that Idaho's prisons, jails and juvenile detention centers would work toward coming into full compliance with the standards required under the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).
States were supposed to be in full compliance with the law two years ago, but Idaho and a handful of others refused. At the time, Otter said complying with the law would cost the state millions and that instead, a special task force would develop Idaho-specific rules to combat sex abuse behind bars. Many of the rules they came up with were identical to the federal standards.
The state has lost roughly $82,000 a year in federal grant money for refusing to comply with PREA. Now Otter is asking the DOJ to reinstate the funding so it can be used toward implementing the federal law.