Idaho Prisons

Sadie Babits / Boise State Public Radio

A federal judge has sanctioned Idaho for misleading the court about medical and mental health care for inmates.

The ruling from U.S. District Judge David Carter means that the Idaho Department of Correction will remain under the court's supervision until at least the fall of 2017.

The health care legal battle between inmates at the Idaho State Correctional Institution and the state has been happening for more than three decades.

Scott Ki / Boise State Public Radio

Attorneys representing Idaho inmates in a class action lawsuit over prison health care told a federal judge Wednesday that prison officials intentionally misled a court-appointed examiner and the department should be punished by the court.

But attorneys for the state denied the inmates' claims and countered that the allegations are based on incomplete evidence that has been taken out of context.

Still Burning / Flickr

An 11th person has joined a sex abuse lawsuit involving Nampa's Idaho Juvenile Corrections Center.

The Idaho Press Tribune reports attorney Bruce Skaug of Skaug Law PC in Nampa is representing the 11 claimants. This newest filing in the lawsuit says 41-year-old Valerie Lieteau performed oral sex on a juvenile inmate and had sex with him in her office.

Lieteau was a nurse at the center from 2008 to 2012.

barbed wire, prison
Havankevin / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal judge says an Idaho inmate can move forward with his lawsuit against the state even though he's already won a six-figure settlement from the state's prison health care provider.

William Bown, an inmate at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution south of Boise, filed the lawsuit in 2012 after he had a heart attack. Bown contended that the prison guards and the medical care providers failed to realize the seriousness of his condition and sent him to an observation cell instead of calling for emergency care.

Inmates at an Idaho prison are asking a federal judge to sanction the state because they believe prison officials deliberately misled a court-appointed examiner on prison health care by tampering with medical records and hiding problem inmates.

The Idaho Department of Correction, meanwhile, contends the inmates' claims are without merit and little more than exaggerations based on unsubstantiated hearsay.

It's the latest tangle in the three-decades-old lawsuit over prison conditions at the Idaho State Correctional Institution.

Scott Ki / Boise State Public Radio

New allegations of misconduct at the Idaho State Correctional Institution have surfaced in a court case that dates back to 1981.

The accusations include destroying, altering, or falsifying prisoner medical records. The state is also accused of deceiving a special investigator whose job it is to keep the state in line with past rulings in the case.

Sadie Babits / Boise State Public Radio

The U.S. Justice Department has declined to press criminal charges in connection with a contract fraud investigation at a private Idaho prison.

The FBI began investigating the Idaho Correctional Center last year. The facility had been run by Corrections Corporation of America and was known for being so violent that inmates dubbed it "Gladiator School."

U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson said Wednesday that the probe was complete, and the agency didn't find probable cause to file charges.

Reports from a state investigator and three staffers at an Idaho prison suggest that inmates' medical records may have been intentionally changed or destroyed in violation of a federal court order.

If the reports from three staffers and an Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses investigator are accurate, the state corrections agency could be at risk of years of sanctions from a federal judge, including years of additional oversight by the court.

Idaho lawmakers have introduced a bill that would formally expand the secrecy surrounding executions.

The Senate Judiciary and Rules committee agreed Wednesday to move forward the legislation from the Idaho Department of Correction. The bill would incorporate existing department policy on confidential execution records into state law, and broaden that language to include records involving the source of lethal medications used for executions. It would also make it illegal for the department to turn over the records in response to subpoenas or other preliminary legal inquiries.

Idaho Dept. of Correction

The Idaho Board of Correction has appointed Kevin Kempf as the new director of prisons one week after his predecessor, Brent Reinke, gave his resignation notice.

The board made the appointment during a special meeting Wednesday, but the choice wasn't a surprise. Kempf has been with the department for 19 years and has served as the deputy director since 2013. That position was created by the board after Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter said he wanted all of his state agencies to have a succession plan in place in case of an unexpected departure.

www.idoc.idaho.gov

Idaho Department of Correction Director Brent Reinke is stepping down from his post after leading the department since 2007. His tenure included overseeing the fallout of a private-prison scandal, handling the first two executions since 1994 and enhancing the department's contract oversight.

Reinke submitted his resignation Tuesday during a special Idaho Board of Corrections meeting.

Courtesy Idaho State Historical Society

A new collection of vintage photographs is highlighting Idaho's historic old penitentiary which was home to bank robbers, assassins, horse thieves and moonshiners for more than 100 years. The fortress-like Old Pen has long been a staple in east Boise, and it's now a place for tourists instead of criminals.

Idaho Department of Correction officials have dramatically scaled back their assessment of the problems encountered when they took over the state's largest prison from Corrections Corporation of America this month.

Last week, Shane Evans with IDOC told the Board of Correction that CCA failed to leave behind a promised 8-day supply of medication, and that the new health care provider had to ship $100,000 worth of medication overnight just to reach the minimum amount needed at the facility.

pills, drugs
DestinysAgent / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho prison officials say they had to have thousands of dollars' worth of medications shipped overnight to the state's largest prison after the former operator, Corrections Corporation of America, left the facility without a promised 8-day supply of inmate medications.

IDOC officials also say they discovered that some chronically ill inmates went without needed medical care and that some records were missing when they assumed control of the prison last month.

The state takeover of a privately-managed prison in Boise is now underway.

Idaho corrections staff have been preparing for months to take over the 2,080-bed facility ever since Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter announced earlier this year he would not renew the $29 million-a-year contract with Corrections Corporations of America. That process officially began Tuesday.

Under CCA management, the prison has been sued and wracked by accusations of violence, gang activity and understaffing.

Idaho correctional officials say the upcoming state takeover of a Boise private prison will be seamless. 

The state will begin running the more than 2,000-bed Idaho Correction Center starting July 1 when the $29 million-a-year contract with the Corrections Corporations of America expires.

Warden Randy Blades said that the transition process is 98 percent complete during an Idaho Board of Corrections meeting Thursday.

roberthuffstutter / Flickr

Several states, including Idaho, are refusing to comply with a federal law designed to reduce sexual assaults in prison, with governors criticizing the Prison Rape Elimination Act as an unfunded mandate that replaces good intentions with red tape.

The governors of Idaho, Texas, Indiana, Utah and Arizona have informed U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that they won't try to meet the federal prison rape standards. Governors were required to certify by May 15 that their states either met the standards, or to promise that they were actively working toward that goal.

courtesy ACLU of Idaho

For six years Monica Hopkins has been one of Idaho’s top civil rights campaigners as head of the ACLU of Idaho. Now Hopkins is leaving the state to take charge of the American Civil Liberties Union branch in Washington D.C.  

Hopkins says the ACLU of Idaho has accomplished a lot in these last six years. Among those successes, she lists lawsuits seeking better conditions for inmates in Canyon County as well as lawsuits against prison operator Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).

Associated Press reporter Rebecca Boone has won a national Sigma Delta Chi Award for excellence in public service journalism for a series of stories covering understaffing at Idaho's largest prison.

Boone's investigation revealed that private prison company Corrections Corporation of America falsified staffing records in violation of the company's $29-million-a-year state contract. She also examined how the state missed warning signs of problems at the prison despite increased oversight of CCA's operations.

A federal prosecutor says she doesn't need a lawsuit against a private prison company put on hold for an FBI fraud investigation at an Idaho detention facility.

U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson's statement comes in response to a request from Corrections Corporation of America lawyers.

The Nashville, Tenn.-based company had asked a judge this week to pause the suit from eight inmates who say they were attacked by a prison gang because there weren't enough guards on duty.

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