Idaho’s prisons have run out of beds. So hundreds of inmates are being sent to Texas.

Up to 250 male inmates from Idaho prisons and jails will be transported and temporarily held at the Karnes County Correctional Center in Karnes City, Texas, due to a lack of bed space here, according to the the Idaho Department of Correction.

Inmates will be held at the Karnes County Correctional Center until the department can reach a long-term agreement with a bed provider at an out-of-state facility. The department said Thursday it is seeking 1,000 beds for six years at the new facility.

The department expects to have a contract finalized by March 1.

“We wish we didn’t have to send inmates out of state; we know it creates challenges for the inmates, their families and our staff,” said Henry Atencio, director of the Idaho Department of Correction, in a statement. “But as Idaho grows, so does the size of our prison population, and we simply have no more room here at home.”

The inmates selected for out-of-state incarceration are medium-security inmates and were previously held at the Idaho State Correctional Institution, Idaho Maximum Security Institution, South Idaho Correctional Institution and Idaho State Correctional Center. The exact date and time of the inmates’ move will not be made public, the department said.

The Karnes County Correctional Center has 550 inmate beds. Inmates will be able to contact their families when they arrive.

Family members who have questions about any inmate incarcerated by the Idaho Department of Correction can contact the department’s Office of Constituent Services at 208-658-2134 or online at http://forms.idoc.idaho.gov/Forms/ConstituentServices.

Michael Katz: 208-377-6444, @MichaelLKatz

Related stories from Idaho Statesman