Thursday, December 2, 2010

FBI investigates CCA-run Idaho prison

In a frame grab from video obtained by The Associated Press, an inmate attacks fellow inmate Hanni Elabed at the privately-run Idaho Correctional Center just south of Boise, Idaho. Elabed suffered brain damage and persistent short-term memory loss after he was beaten by inmate James Haver while multiple guards watched at the Idaho prison operated by Corrections Corporation of America. (AP Photo)

Photo found here


Originally found here

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho prison officials say they are cooperating with federal investigators looking into possible criminal misconduct on the part of guards and staff at a prison run by Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America.

Wendy Olson, the U.S. Attorney in Idaho, confirmed Tuesday the Department of Justice has been investigating the conduct of prison staff at the Idaho Correctional Center and their role in the high rate of inmate-on-inmate violence at a facility known by inmates as "Gladiator School." Olson said FBI agents are focusing on whether ICC staffers have violated the civil rights of inmates at the prison, operated by the CCA under a contract with the state.

Idaho Department of Correction Director Brent Reinke said Tuesday his agency is concerned about the safety of ICC inmates and holding prison staff accountable for conduct that threatens the welfare of inmates. "Safety and accountability are at the core of IDOC's mission," Reinke said in a statement. "That is not limited to the safety of staff and the accountability of offenders. We also expect offenders to be safe while incarcerated and correctional professionals to be held accountable when necessary."

Olson confirmed the FBI inquiry Tuesday after The Associated Press published a story and surveillance video of an attack on former ICC inmate Hanni Elabed. In January, Elabed was assaulted moments after prison staff reassigned him to a cellblock with inmates he previously identified as being involved in peddling contraband with a staffer. The January 2010 assault left him with brain damage and prompted his medical release from the prison.