Idaho Man Sues Corrections Corporation of America

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A former inmate is suing a private prison company, saying guards watched as he was beaten by a fellow inmate in an attack that went on so long his assailant had time to stop and drink some water before continuing.

Attorneys for Hanni Elabed filed the lawsuit against the Correction Corporation of America in Boise’s U.S. District Court late last week, saying their client was left brain damaged and may never fully recover from the assault at the Idaho Correctional Center near Boise.

Elabed is asking for punitive damages and compensation in an amount to be proven in court.

Steven Owens, the public affairs director for CCA, said the Nashville, Tenn.-based company doesn’t comment on lawsuits other than through court filings.

According to the lawsuit, Elabed was serving time on a robbery conviction when he was beaten. His attorneys said at least three guards and another ICC staffer watched while he was stomped and kicked, and that they failed to intervene even when his attacker stopped for several minutes to get a drink and catch his breath.

The lawsuit echoes complaints lodged in other recent lawsuits against the company in which other Idaho inmates allege they were knowingly exposed to violence from other inmates and then denied proper medical care in an effort to cover up the extent of their injuries.

Elabed’s case, however, details what may be the most extreme allegations yet to come out of the state’s only private prison.

Elabed was 24 in 2008 and addicted to Oxycontin, when he pleaded guilty to robbery and was sentenced to two to 12 years in prison. He was transferred to the Idaho Correctional Center, where Elabed, who is Muslim and of Palestinian decent, told his family he was being harassed by inmates — including his cellmate — who were members of a white supremacist gang.

The lawsuit said the harassment escalated until his cellmate attacked Elabed and broke his jawbone. After that attack, Elabed was moved to another cellblock within the prison where he said the gang abused and threatened him.
The lawsuit said he tried to get help from prison staffers, telling them that he’d been threatened and giving them details about drug trafficking between inmates and staffers that he had witnessed.

That prompted ICC officials to move Elabed to administrative segregation for several days, according to the lawsuit, before moving him back into the same cellblock. Just before the move, Elabed told his parents that he believed several guards were planning to tell the other inmates that he had identified them as drug traffickers.

He was moved into the cellblock on Jan. 18 and within minutes of his arrival, he was attacked by one of the gang members “in plain view of video surveillance cameras and multiple ICC staff who passively observed from behind a window,” Elabed’s attorney, Benjamin Schwartzman, wrote.

The guards ordered all the inmates to their rooms, according to the lawsuit, leaving only Elabed and his assailant in the main area.

His attorney said the attacker then knocked Elabed to the floor and stomped on his head. He described the blows as “delivered with such ferocity and energy that the attacking gang member was forced to catch his breath and refresh himself at a drinking fountain, afterward.”

Elabed claimed that during the break, he managed to get up and pleaded with guards who continued to watch as his assailant resumed the attack.

The beating didn’t end until he was unconscious and convulsing in a pool of blood, the lawsuit said.

Elabed’s attorney said staffers had an ambulance take Elabed to a local hospital, where he was diagnosed with traumatic subarachnoid brain hemorrhage. They prevented the hospital from taking any pictures of Elabed’s injuries, the lawsuit said, and removed him after he was stabilized in an overnight stay.

His attorney said Elabed was returned to the hospital three days later after he was not given treatment at the prison. Elabed later was given a medical parole, his attorney said.

His attorney added that since the beating, his client gets confused easily, jumps at loud noises and can’t keep his attention focused. He soothes himself by rocking and rubbing his arms, and has significant mental impairment, Schwartzman said.

“We know that he was normal before. He was no honor student, but he could hold down a job. Now he gets confused trying to put his own clothes away …,” Schwartzman said.

The case is complicated in part because Elabed lost his memory of the beating and the events preceding it, Schwartzman said. His attorneys have had to rely on witness accounts to determine much of what happened but they said the stories are consistent.

The Ada County prosecutor has charged James Haver, an inmate serving time for aggravated assault and battery, with aggravated battery in connection with Elabed’s case. A preliminary hearing for Haver has been set for May.

Some Idaho prisons can’t afford to be full

10/31/09
The state is managing 500 more offenders than last year with $28 million less.
Idaho’s maximum security prison marked its 20th anniversary on Thursday, with two of its units sitting vacant.

It’s not that Idaho doesn’t have enough prisoners – it’s short on money. Inmates have been shifted to the cheapest beds available, like those down the road at the privately operated Idaho Correctional Center, where many of the inmates are housed dorm-style in huge rooms with rows of bunk beds and open toilets.

The state Department of Correction was able to eliminate 16 positions because it closed 72 beds at the Maximum Security Institution, called the Max, and a similar number of beds at the state-run South Idaho Correctional Institution. The private ICC opened a 628-bed addition.

All three prisons are on South Pleasant Valley Road south of the Boise Airport.

Furloughs and other money-saving moves are in the works for department employees, but Correction Director Brent Reinke told lawmakers recently that the savings are “not sustainable” for continuing to manage the inmate population appropriately.

The Max houses the state’s most dangerous offenders, including those on Death Row. It now has 442 inmates. When it first opened in 1989, every cell was for just one prisoner, but as Idaho’s prison population burgeoned in the 1990s, many were doubled up. Since then, it’s gone back the other way.

“With the offenders that we have and the violence we have, we’ve had to go down to more single cells,” said Pam Sonnen, chief of prisons.

Sgt. David Belz has worked as a prison guard at the Max for the past 11 years. The biggest change he’s seen: “The attitude of the inmates.” He said, “We’re getting younger and younger inmates. They have no respect for anybody. They’re all involved in these gangs.”

Jeff Ray, spokesman for the Department of Correction, said, “Gangs have become much more prevalent. That’s a significant management issue. You have to keep some of them apart.”

The E-block and G-block, both of which have been empty since early September, are the oldest buildings at the Max, originally constructed in the 1970s as part of the medium-security prison next door. “At some point we’re going to have to put inmates back in there,” Sonnen said. Idaho’s been lucky that for the last couple of years, its prison population has been “relatively stable,” she said. “Thank goodness we don’t have a huge population growth, because the state can’t afford it right now.”

BY BETSY Z. RUSSELL

For link to article click Here

Who’s watching Idaho’s inmates?

BY KATHLEEN KRELLER – kkreller@idahostatesman.com
Copyright: © 2010 Idaho Statesman
Published: 04/25/10
So far it hasn’t meant more violence, but it’s a recipe for inmate management problems like property damage, litigation, suicide, fighting and sexual assault, according to a January report by the Idaho Legislature’s Office of Performance Evaluation.

State prison officials say they are forced to weigh meager dollars against those risks, said Pam Sonnen, Division of Prisons chief for the Idaho Department of Corrections.

“It would be cost-prohibitive for me to provide staff to observe all inmates 24 hours a day,” Sonnen said. “Our prisons are safe.”

WORKING BACKWARDS

In the current and past fiscal years, Gov. Butch Otter has imposed budget holdbacks and cuts. The department faces a $2.9 million reduction in funding next year. Meanwhile, department projections show the number of inmates will increase by more than 1,300 by 2013.

The department is “more or less forced to work backwards,” assigning security staff to monitor inmates based on money and bodies available, not on need, said Maureen Brewer, one of Idaho’s senior performance evaluators.

Best-practice standards for facilities certified by the American Correctional Association say prisons should determine the number of correctional officers needed for continuous supervision based on inmate population and building design.

Continuous supervision means that correctional officers can observe an inmate instantly, either by camera or in person. It means there are no hidden areas in housing units.

Idaho’s privately run prison, the Idaho Correctional Center, is the only prison in the state to be accredited by the ACA.

Sonnen said for state-run facilities, she tallies the staff she has available and then determines where security posts and officers are located. If IDOC were to follow national standards, Sonnen said, she’d need to hire from 40 to 50 more security staff.

“That’s in an ideal world,” Sonnen said. “But it is not realistic.”

To read the complete article click Here

Idaho Department of Correction Announces Cutbacks, Furloughs

April 16, 2010

In an effort to balance its budget for the upcoming fiscal year, the Idaho Department of Correction is eliminating 24 more staff positions. That brings the total number of positions cut over the past two years to 102.

“We’ve had to make some very difficult choices since the budget crisis began,” said IDOC Director Brent Reinke. “But at every stage our focus has always been on our core mission – protecting the people of the state of Idaho.”

The IDOC plans to cut $3.1 million from the FY 2011 budget. Officials tell us at least $1 million worth of savings will result from modifications to the department’s food service program. Eight of the 24 positions that are being eliminated are food service jobs.

From the start of the economic downturn, IDOC administrators have left many positions unfilled when an employee leaves the department. As a result, almost all of the employees whose jobs are being eliminated are being given an opportunity to transfer elsewhere in the department.

“This has been a difficult process especially for the employees whose jobs have been impacted,” Director Reinke said. “While almost all of them still have jobs, many of them have had to take pay cuts and demotions.”

Another way IDOC says it will balance its budget in FY 2011 is by continuing employee furloughs. All prison security staff will be required to take 32 hours of unpaid leave. All other IDOC employees must take 80 hours for an annual savings of $1.9 million.

While IDOC’s budget is going down, the size of the inmate population is expected to go up. IDOC’s annual offender forecast calls for a 4.3 percent increase in FY 2011. But the department is bracing for an even bigger population increase because of budget cuts to social service programs provided by the Department of Health and Welfare and the Office of Drug Policy.

“The fact is there are now a lot of people who won’t get the mental health or drug treatment they need in the community and run the risk of ending up in prison,” Director Reinke said.

IDOC employs about 1,500 people, incarcerates about 7,500 inmates and supervises about 13,800 probationers and parolees.

Link to article Here

Prison company asks court to toss Idaho lawsuit

April 16, 2010

BOISE, Idaho — A private prison company has asked a federal judge to bar a lawsuit brought by 24 inmates and the American Civil Liberties Union over violence at Idaho’s only private prison, saying the primary plaintiff should go it alone in court.

Corrections Corporation of America runs Idaho’s only private prison, the Idaho Correctional Center near Boise.

Inmate Marlin Riggs brought sued the Nashville, Tenn., company last year over violence at the prison.

The ACLU filed an amended complaint in March on behalf of Riggs and the other inmates, saying the facility is so violent that it’s known as “gladiator school” and that guards deliberately expose prisoners to brutal beatings from other inmates.

In its response filed with Boise’s U.S. District Court last week, Corrections Corporation of America says the amended lawsuit oversteps limits the court set when it agreed to appoint attorneys to help Riggs bring his case. The company also contends that the amended lawsuit is unduly prejudicial.

“This court should not allow the class to piggyback their class claims onto Riggs’s original complaint because Riggs lacks the standing to represent the class,” the CCA attorneys wrote in their motion. “It will also prejudice the CCA defendants at trial where the jury will not only decide liability on Riggs’s claims, but still hear evidence relating to the class allegations.”

If the ACLU and the other plaintiffs want to file a class-action lawsuit against CCA, they should do that separately, CCA’s attorneys contend.

The ACLU responded in a court document Thursday, contending that plaintiffs frequently file amended lawsuits expanding the scope of the case and adding new plaintiffs. Besides, the ACLU said, it’s Riggs’ decision — not CCAs — whether he wants to bring a case by himself or on behalf of a class. And while the ACLU agrees that the corrections company could suffer some prejudice because of the expanded claim, the attorneys say it’s in line with the prejudice suffered by any defendant in any expanded lawsuit, and it’s not unduly prejudicial.

Riggs and the ACLU are suing for $155 million in damages — the entire net profit of the Corrections Corporation of America for 2009. The inmates claim in part that guards force prisoners to turn each other in for violating prison rules, and those who refuse are moved to cell blocks where they are surrounded by enemy gang members and face certain beatings. The inmates also contend the prison denies injured inmates medical care to save money and hides the extent of injuries.

CCA officials have countered that the prison is under the constant supervision by the Idaho Department of Corrections and that it meets the highest professional standards in the country for correctional management.

Food Service Business Plan

March 2010

The department reviewed food service operations to determine if the cost of $1.63 per served meal could be lowered. The department completed the zero-based budgeting process in December and has developed a business plan to increase efficiency in food service operations. The three tiers of the plan include changing menus, revising operations and staff adjustments. When the new business plan is implemented, the state will reduce meal costs to approximately $1.47 per meal served. This cost includes staff and security.

Phase 1: Menu modifications were initiated on February 12th. These changes will occur incrementally.

There are five key menu changes.
• Replace juice with fortified fruit drinks.
• Replace individual milk with bulk milk.
• Bake food items instead of frying them.
• Make salad dressings and syrups.
• Include seasonings in meal preparation.

Inmates were notified of menu changes on March 1st. The menu changes will be phased in by April 1st. Staff menus were phased out effective February 28th

Phase 2: Operational changes are underway.
The department will move from the current standardized meals to a self-select option in several institutions.
This will reduce waste and save money. The South Idaho Correctional Institution tested the new serving method the first week of March with favorable results.
A staff member will oversee the implementation of recognized business practices including standardized accounting, centralized purchasing, inventory, portions, and regulating production levels. Food managers will provide guidance and oversight for day-to-day operations in the field.

Phase 3: Staffing adjustments
Food service staff schedules will change. When enacted, the three parts of the business plan will standardize and add efficiency to food service statewide. The department will use the cost reductions of $1 million dollars to help offset FY11 budget reductions.

The Board of Correction voted to delay a request for proposals for contracting food service for nine months.

The department has until September to cut food service costs.

Idaho inmate’s skills tailor-made for quilting

04/03/10

BOISE, Idaho — John Gout has found an unusual way to wait out the final months of his 10-year prison sentence.

He transforms worn blue jeans, bright orange “offender transport jumpsuits” and random fabric scraps into works of textile art.

Over the past two years, Gout, who’s white-haired and wears prison-issue eyeglasses, has made 25 quilts and donated them to local charities that have raffled and auctioned them for hundreds of dollars.

On March 18, accompanied by prison personnel, Gout donated eight quilts to the Ronald McDonald House in Boise. It was Gout’s first trip outside the prison walls since he left for throat cancer treatment three years ago.

“When you have too much time on your hands, you try to think of something different to do,” Gout said. “When you create something so it can be used by someone who values it, it’s a sense of accomplishment.”

He has had the time. Gout has what state officials called “a very long record” – in and out of Idaho. He was in an Idaho prison in the 1980s for DUI. His latest sentence, for felony burglary, is set to be complete in February 2011.

Other inmates do work that benefits their communities – but usually as part of an organized effort, prison spokesman Jeffrey Ray said.

Inmates in Boise train shelter dogs to be adopted out in a partnership with the Idaho Humane Society.

At the women’s prison in Pocatello, inmates make school supplies and other items for local children.

Gout is somewhat unusual, Ray said, though a couple of Gout’s fellow laundry tailors, inspired by him, have also started quilting.

“He’s not part of a program. He’s not doing this to be eligible for parole. He’s just one man, sitting by the dryer, trying to get through the day,” Ray said.

Among the quilts for the Ronald McDonald house is a Boise State quilt. Considering the materials Gout has on hand, it’s a nice coincidence that Bronco colors are blue and orange.

Prison officials arranged to have the quilt autographed by scores of Bronco athletes. It will be auctioned off to raise money for the nonprofit that houses families of hospitalized children.

Besides the Bronco quilt, he’s giving other quilts that families staying at the house can keep. One features the alphabet.

“This quilt might help a mother teach the alphabet to her child,” Gout said.

All 19 rooms at the Ronald McDonald House have been full since December, said Executive Director Mindee Plumlee.

Items like quilts – that help create a homelike atmosphere in highly unusual circumstances – are comforting for residents, she said.

Gout quilts in the corner of the laundry room at the minimum-security South Idaho Correctional Institution, where he holds the title of head tailor.

His official duties include sewing inmates’ name tags onto their blue work shirts and hemming denims. New pants are all the same length. Gout and his fellow “sewers” cut them to different sizes.

Gout keeps the scraps, neatly folded in an old box that once held a pair of Rhino work boots.

“We reuse everything around here,” said Officer Michale O’Donnell, who has helped connect Gout to many of the organizations he helps.

Gout says sewing is easy. His tailoring clients aren’t fussy.

“One thing about sewing in prison. You mess something up, nobody jumps on you,” he said.

Gout grew up selling sewing machines in his family’s shop in Salt Lake City.

He had never quilted, though, until an officer, Bill Braseth, who recently retired, attended a charity auction that featured a quilt made of blue jeans.

Knowing about Gout’s needle skills, the officer suggested that Gout try quilting. Gout insists it’s as easy as hemming.

“All you have to do is sew in straight lines,” he said. “It’s kind of like putting together a puzzle with square pieces.”

He earns 30 cents an hour at the laundry. That pays for his coffee and toiletries at the prison commissary – quite a contrast to the money his quilts bring in.

He has donated them to local middle schools, to the Elks, and to officers at the nearby maximum security building. That quilt – raffled off during hunting season, raised money for an officers’ support fund and featured a wild turkey. Gout got his inspiration from the pages of a hunting magazine.

“There’s something about the novelty of prison blues,” Gout said. “People want them.”

When he’s free in just under a year, Gout wants to get a sewing job with a local bag company.

“I’ll work my way back to society, then find a nice trailer home that’s already parked somewhere. Maybe Colorado. I’ll call that home,” he said.

He wants to keep quilting.

“And I’ll probably hang up a shingle to offer tailoring and alterations. There’s always somebody who needs a pair of pants hemmed.”

Read more: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2010/04/03/1139949/idaho-inmates-skills-tailor-made.html#ixzz0kHDdfZVr

ACLU lawsuit prompts Idaho prison warden switch

March 18, 2010

The ACLU is suing CCA over claims of brutal inmate-on-inmate violence

BOISE, Idaho — The Corrections Corporation of America is replacing the top two officials at Idaho’s only private prison after the American Civil Liberties Union sued over claims of brutal inmate-on-inmate violence, state corrections officials said Wednesday.

Idaho Department of Correction Director Brent Reinke said in a memo to department staffers that the company will name a new warden and assistant warden at the Idaho Correctional Center near Boise.

The announcement comes just days after the ACLU filed a lawsuit asking for class-action status and $155 million in damages, alleging the prison is extremely violent and that guards deliberately expose inmates to beatings from other prisoners as a management tool. It names both the company and the state department.

In the lawsuit filed March 11, the ACLU said the prison was so violent it was known as “gladiator school” among inmates and that guards denied medical care and X-rays to the injured prisoners as a way to save money and hide the extent of their injuries.

Steve Owen, the prison company’s director of public affairs, said former warden Phillip Valdez and former assistant warden Dan Prado both remain employed with the company and would be reassigned.

He said Timothy Wengler, who has been with CCA since 1996 and most recently worked as interim warden at the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton, Minn., would serve as interim warden at the Idaho lockup until a permanent warden is named.

Owen said CCA initiated the management change with the support of Idaho officials.

In his memo, Reinke said his department has three monitors in charge of overseeing CCA’s contract to run the Idaho Correctional Center, and that state experts would be available to help the prison safely adjust to a new warden and assistant warden.

“The Idaho Department of Correction supports this change and will assist in any way needed as the facility transitions to new leadership,” he wrote.

Under the contract, CCA will recommend a new warden and assistant warden, who will be approved or rejected by the Department of Correction.

Last week, Owen said the company would respond to the lawsuit through court filings and noted that state officials have unfettered access to the prison and are onsite daily to monitor its management.

“For the past decade, CCA has safely and securely managed the Idaho Corrections Center on behalf of our government partner, the Idaho Department of Corrections,” Owen said in a statement. “Our hardworking, professional staff and management team are held accountable to high standards by our government partner, to include those of the American Correctional Association _ the highest professional standards in the country for correctional management.”

ACLU-Idaho Executive Director Monica Hopkins said she didn’t have any comment on the changes at this time.

By Rebecca Boone
Associated Press

ACLU Lawsuit Charges Idaho Prison Officials Promote Rampant Violence

March 11, 2010

Deliberate Indifference And Longstanding Culture Of Brutality Lead To Epidemic Violence At Privately-Run Idaho Correctional Center

BOISE, ID – The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Idaho today filed a class action federal lawsuit charging that officials at the Idaho Correctional Center (ICC) promote and facilitate a culture of rampant violence that has led to carnage and suffering among prisoners at the state-owned facility operated by the for-profit company Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho, the lawsuit charges that epidemic violence at the facility is the direct result of, among other things, ICC officials turning a blind eye to the brutality, a prison culture that relies on the degradation, humiliation and subjugation of prisoners, a failure to discipline guards who intentionally arrange assaults and a reliance on violence as a management tool.

“In my 39 years of suing prisons and jails, I have never confronted a more disgraceful, revolting and inexcusable case of mass abuse and federal rights violations than this one,” said Stephen Pevar, a senior staff attorney for the ACLU. “The level of unnecessary human suffering is appalling. Prison officials have utterly failed to uphold their constitutional obligation to protect prisoners from being violently harmed and we must seek court intervention.”

According to the lawsuit, a deeply entrenched culture of brutality has resulted in higher levels of violence at ICC than at Idaho’s eight other prisons combined. The lawsuit highlights 24 different cases of assault that have occurred at ICC since November 2006, all of which were entirely preventable and the direct result of failures by ICC officials to protect prisoners despite being placed on notice that these prisoners faced a substantial risk of serious harm. The cases highlighted in the lawsuit are not exhaustive, but instead are merely representative of the scores of additional assaults that have occurred at ICC during the past four years.

The cases of prisoner-on-prisoner violence highlighted in the lawsuit include a prisoner who was hit in his ear so hard that it partially detached from the side of his head, a prisoner who, in anticipation of being brutally assaulted, removed his eyeglasses to protect them prior to receiving a pummeling, a prisoner who was beaten so badly that his teeth were pushed through his lower lip causing effusive bleeding that took an officer more than two hours to clean up, a prisoner who required eight screws to put his jaw back into place after being savagely beaten in the face and a prisoner whose requests for X-rays on the heels of being beaten were met by laughter from a prison guard who callously informed him there was no need for x-rays since his nose was so obviously broken.

Marlin Riggs, one of six named plaintiffs in the lawsuit, entered ICC in May 2008 and was targeted by a group of prisoners he believed were associated with a gang that prison officials knew had a history of threatening and extorting money from other prisoners. Despite his pleas, prison officials refused to move Riggs to a safer living area and he was violently assaulted and left lying in a pool of his own blood with a broken nose and a crushed cheekbone.

“The levels of violence and gross indifference of staff are shameful,” said Monica Hopkins, Executive Director of the ACLU of Idaho. “People are sent to prison as punishment, not for punishment. The administrators of ICC are ignoring their constitutional duty to protect prisoners from violence at the hands of other prisoners.”

The lawsuit also claims that guards at ICC, in an effort to shield themselves from any complaints of misconduct for having set up many of the assaults, file disciplinary charges against victims. The Commission of Pardons and Parole then has used these fabricated charges as grounds to deny parole to a number of prisoners, including Riggs, creating additional unfair punishment.

Among other things, the lawsuit seeks a court order setting strict deadlines by which ICC must develop and implement adequate policies, as well as hire and train a sufficient number of guards, to safeguard prisoners from assault. The lawsuit argues that if ICC officials continue to ignore their constitutional obligation to protect the prisoners in their care, all prisoners should be removed from the facility.

CCA, which boasts of being the largest owner and operator of private correctional and detention facilities in the U.S. with 63 facilities in 20 states housing approximately 76,000 prisoners, has faced hundreds of lawsuits in recent years, including two ACLU lawsuits challenging overcrowding and unconstitutional medical care at the San Diego Correctional Facility, an immigration detention facility in San Diego.

A copy of today’s complaint is available online at: http://www.aclu.org/prisoners-rights/riggs-et-al-v-valdez-et-al-second-amended-complaint

Prison as Punishment, Not for Punishment

Mar 26th, 2010

No one wants to go to prison, but there’s one particular prison in Idaho that’s especially feared. Why? According to the Associated Press, over the past two years, more prisoner-on-prisoner assaults have occurred at this specific prison — the Idaho Correctional Center (ICC) — than at the other eight Idaho prisons combined.

During the past two months, ACLU lawyers interviewed over 30 prisoners who were viciously assaulted at ICC. The findings were so damning that a lawsuit was filed in federal court in Boise on March 11. The complaint, which exceeds 80 pages, chronicles more than 20 violent assaults that resulted in broken bones and bloodshed. The complaint does not include a number of victims who are so afraid of being assaulted again that they declined to have their stories included in the lawsuit. Since the lawsuit was filed, the ACLU has been contacted by more than 40 other persons who were assaulted while confined at ICC.

In what is a poorly kept secret, ICC is known throughout Idaho as “Gladiator School.” ICC staff not only condones violence amongst prisoners, it encourages and facilitates it as a management tool. In the United States, individuals are sent to prison as punishment, not for punishment, but that is not the case at ICC. It is worth noting that of the nine prisons in Idaho, ICC is the only one not run by the state, but rather by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). CCA, which boasts of being the largest owner and operator of private correctional and detention facilities in the U.S., has faced hundreds of lawsuits in recent years, including several brought by the ACLU.

Although our class action lawsuit was filed just last week, it appears that officials at CCA know that changes are needed. Mere days after our complaint was filed, CCA replaced the warden and assistant warden, the top two officials at ICC.

The lawsuit seeks broad injunctive relief on behalf of all ICC prisoners. The injunctive relief would require ICC to make numerous improvements designed to ensure that prisoners are reasonably protected against assault.

Stephen Pevar, the lead attorney in the case, said: “I consider this case to be one of the most important cases I’ve litigated in my 39 years of practice, if not the most important. No other case of mine remotely approaches the level of profound human suffering that has occurred at ICC — nearly all of which could have easily been prevented by staff.”