Posts tagged: Idaho state prisons
The Idaho Department of Correction reports that a 34-year-old inmate apparently committed suicide by hanging himself in his cell at the Idaho State Correctional Institution over the weekend. Brandon Munk was found hanging in his cell Saturday at 6:12 p.m.; emergency responders were able to restore his pulse, and he was taken to St. Alphonsus Medical Center, but he died there early Sunday afternoon. Munk was serving a two- to five-year sentence for forgery in Bannock County; he was scheduled to be released in July of 2014. The department has asked the Ada County Sheriff’s Office for assistance in investigating the death.
It was the first suicide reported at an Idaho state prison this year; last year, there were two, one at ISCI and one at the Pocatello Women’s Correctional Center, and both also by hanging.
Overwhelming response to a call for donations to an inmate quilting project has left the Idaho Department of Correction out of storage space and unable to accept new donations of quilting material. “Idaho’s quilters are generous and eager to share their passion for quilting,” says Idaho Department of Correction Director Brent Reinke. “We never imagined we’d get buried like this.” The prisons have received more than four pickup truck loads of quilting material. “We are truly grateful for all the help, but we just don’t have a place to store more material,” Reinke said. Click below for the department's full announcement.
The Idaho State Police has launched an investigation into staffing levels at the state's largest private prison after state officials said they found discrepancies in the prison's monthly reports, reports Associated Press reporter Rebecca Boone. The Idaho Correctional Center south of Boise is run by Corrections Corp. of America, which has held the contract for a decade; both the contract and a legal settlement set minimum staffing requirements. Boone reports that Correction Director Brent Reinke told the Idaho Board of Correction this morning that he asked the state police to investigate because the department found “potential anomalies” during an audit; an AP analysis of the prison's records showed some guards apparently working 48 hours straight; double-posting, where one guard is shown as working two different posts at the same time; and vacant security posts.
Click below for Boone's full report.
A former Idaho probation and parole employee is suing the state Department of Correction, charging gender discrminiation and creation of a hostile work environment after her brief relationship with a co-worker turned violent, the AP reports. The lawsuit was filed this week in U.S. District Court; click below for a full report from AP reporter Todd Dvorak.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Attorneys for inmates at Idaho's largest private prison say Corrections Corporation of America is falsifying staff logs to hide chronic understaffing. The allegation was raised Friday in an amended federal lawsuit. Attorneys for CCA have not yet responded, and a CCA spokesman didn't immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press. Officials with the Idaho Department Correction also didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. CCA operates the Idaho Correctional Center south of Boise for the state, and the company was required to increase staffing as part of a settlement ending a different lawsuit in 2011. In the new lawsuit, inmates claim CCA is secretly violating its state contract by listing employees on staff shift logs even if they didn't work that day or only worked a half-hour.
Click below for a full report from AP reporter Rebecca Boone.
The ACLU of Idaho is charging that the Corrections Corp. of America is violating the terms of a settlement agreement it reached with the group in a 2010 lawsuit over prison violence at the CCA-run Idaho Correctional Center south of Boise, the AP reports, a settlement that required staffing and safety changes at the prison. The charge comes as a new lawsuit from inmates charges that CCA has turned over control of the lockup to prison gangs to save on staffing; click below for a full report from AP reporter Rebecca Boone.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― The Idaho Department of Correction has flown 130 inmates to a prison in Colorado because Idaho's prison don't have enough room to hold the state's growing inmate population. The inmates were flown Tuesday morning on a chartered jet to Denver, and from there they took a bus to the Kit Carson Correctional Center in Burlington, Colo. The prison is owned and operated by Corrections Corporation of America. Idaho's inmate population reached more than 8,000 for the first time in April. The Department of Correction has been renting beds in county jails to ease the pressure, but that wasn't enough to accommodate the demand. Department Director Brent Reinke says the move is hard on families, but the state is simply out of room.
An inmate at Idaho's Pocatello Women's Correctional Center apparently committed suicide yesterday; 51-year-old Cindy R. Jones was found hanging in a shower area at the women's prison at 4:38 p.m., and paramedics were unable to resuscitate her. It was the second suicide in two years at the women's prison; the last was in November of 2011. Idaho Department of Correction spokesman Jeff Ray said since 2006, seven inmates have committed suicide in Idaho state prison facilities; three more Idaho state prison inmates committed suicide while being held in private prisons or county jails.
Ray said from January 2006 to June 2012, the prison system has had a far higher number of “suicide events,” defined as when prison staff place an inmate on suicide watch after the inmate threatens to kill him or herself: There were 3,909 such “events.” Said Ray, “All IDOC correctional officers undergo suicide prevention training when they join the department and receive refresher courses annually.”
The previous suicide at the women's prison came when Cheryl Ann Spellmeyer, 48, was found unconscious in her cell in 2011 with an apparent self-inflicted ligature mark around her neck; she was serving time for robbery, forgery and DUI in Twin Falls County and would have been eligible for parole less than a year after her death.
Jones was serving up to 20 years in prison for 2nd degree kidnapping, aggravated assault and illegal possession of a weapon in Ada County; she was scheduled to be released on July 22, 2018. The state prison system has asked the Idaho State Police to assist in investigating her death.
Idaho's state Department of Correction has selected a private prison in Colorado run by Corrections Corp. of America to take overflow Idaho inmates in the next year - and expects to have 450 Idaho inmates there by this time next year. “Idaho's inmate population is 8,099 and has grown by more than 500 inmates since the fiscal year began on July 1, 2011,” the department reported in a news release. “Idaho is managing its prisons at capacity and also houses more than 800 inmates in county jails statewide.” Click below for the department's full announcement.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― The Idaho Department of Correction has agreed to increase staffing and dramatically increase medical care oversight as part of a long-running lawsuit over conditions at a prison south of Boise. The agreement filed with the U.S. District Court in Idaho Tuesday afternoon guarantees that the court will continue to review conditions at the Idaho State Correctional Institution for at least two more years before ending a decades-old lawsuit between inmates and the state. Idaho Department of Correction Director Brent Reinke said the agreement represents a significant step forward in the lawsuit, which was filed exactly 31 years ago. The agreement comes after a court-appointed expert made a scathing assessment of the medical care provided to inmates at the prison. The state and its medical contractor, Corizon, have disputed those findings. Click below for a full report from AP reporter Rebecca Boone.
Four Death Row inmates have filed a federal lawsuit over Idaho's new execution procedures, asking a judge to stop all executions until problems in the procedures are addressed. The move comes as Idaho's next execution nears; Richard Leavitt, an eastern Idaho murderer convicted in 1984, is nearing the end of his appeals. In November, Idaho carried out its first execution in 17 years, executing triple murderer Paul Rhoades by lethal injection; it was the state's first execution since 1994 and only its second since 1957.
The four inmates, who include Leavitt along with Thomas Creech, James Hairston and Gene Stuart, contend the new procedures adopted earlier this year give too much power to prison officials, create a risk of severe pain and would allow unqualified workers to carry out medical procedures. Click below for a full report from AP reporter Rebecca Boone.
Medical care is so poor at an Idaho state prison that it amounts to neglect and cruel and unusual punishment, the AP reports, according to a report that was unsealed Monday. Correctional health care expert Dr. Marc Stern said there have been some improvements at the Idaho State Correctional Institution south of Boise. But terminal and long-term inmates sometimes went unfed, nursing mistakes or failure likely resulted in some deaths, and one inmate wasn't told for seven months that he likely had cancer, reports Associated Press reporter Rebecca Boone; click below for her full report.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — State prison officials say a report on health care and other conditions at an Idaho prison is so inflammatory that it must remain sealed. U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill appointed a correctional health care expert to see if Idaho is complying with a ruling in a long -running lawsuit brought by inmates at the Idaho State Correctional Institution. Marc Stern's report was filed under seal last month, and the judge ordered attorneys on both sides to review the document to see if any information should be redacted to protect health privacy concerns. Though they agreed no such redactions were needed, the state says the report should be sealed anyway because the public could mistakenly believe it amounted to the opinion of the court, leading to an “unjustified public scandal.”
Brent Reinke, Idaho state prisons chief, as he opened his presentation to the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho today, said Idahoans may be wondering, “What about this violence story? What’s happening here?” He said he’d be glad to speak with any legislator who’s been contacted by constituents with concerns about family members housed at the Idaho Correctional Center, the privately operated state prison south of Boise, where a brutal inmate-on-inmate attack - while guards watched - was shown in a video released by the Associated Press yesterday.
Reinke said he “won’t go into detail today to explain to you all” the issues about the private prison. But, he said, “I’m very confident and very comfortable with our new warden in that facility, and things are progressing. We are doing a much better job of monitoring than we have in the past; we have a new contract.” He added, “In the Department of Corrections, 80 percent of our problems are bought forth by 20 percent of our population. We do have gangs, and they are a problem.”
Idaho’s privately operated prison south of Boise, the Idaho Correctional Center, has confirmed that inmates there have contracted the Norovirus, after a flurry of stomach flu was reported there. The facility has been washed down with bleach and inmates are on lockdown; click below to read the full press release from Corrections Corporation of America, the company that runs the prison.
Idaho’s state Department of Correction says the case of Cody Vealton Thompson, who was convicted by an Ada County jury Nov. 17 of raping his cellmate and attempting to intimidate a witness, is the first conviction of an inmate for raping another inmate inside an Idaho prison in the 120-year history of the state’s prison system. “This case shows Idaho is serious about eliminating prison rape,” said Idaho Department of Correction Director Brent Reinke. He said Idaho has been a national leader in implementing the Prison Rape Elimination Act, a federal law passed in 2003. Click below to read the department’s full news release; Thompson faces sentencing Dec. 22.