Idaho Prisons

FLICK/NPS CLIMATE CHANGE RESPONSE

The Idaho Department of Corrections facilitates a program allowing inmates to be trained as firefighters and deployed on the lines of some of the most intense wildfires in the West. This is a voluntary program and participants are eager to break up the monotony of prison life by making a difference in a community by battling wildfires. We'll meet with the warden of the South Idaho Correctional Institute, in Kuna, and an inmate who puts his life at risk with his crew to protect wildlands and property in the West.

  • Our team of journalists breaks down the week's headlines.
  • Idaho prison inmates are on the front lines battling wildfires.

Thomas Hawk / Flickr

As Idaho's inmate population swells, state officials are considering building a new state prison. The suggestion comes at a time when all of Idaho’s county jails and prisons are at or above capacity.


Lancey / Flickr

This week, several employees of the Idaho Department of Corrections were indicted by federal authorities. One group, who faces a range of charges, was allegedly willing to help traffic drugs.

Clipp2nd / Flickr

A federal judge has ruled that the Idaho Department of Correction must provide Kosher meals to prisoners in any of their facilities. The lawsuit came about after prisoners went on a starvation diet at Passover this year.


Scott Ki / BSPR

Attorneys for the Idaho Department of Correction say inmates exaggerated problems with the prison medical care system and waited too long to complain, and as a result, prison officials shouldn't be held in contempt of court for violating a settlement in a decades-old class action lawsuit.

The court documents were filed late last week in federal court. They mark the latest twist in a lawsuit first brought by inmates in 1981 that contends unconstitutionally poor medical care was provided to prisoners at the Idaho State Correctional Institution.

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.

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