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Idaho News

Justice Department Won't Prosecute Idaho Prison Guards

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After a three-year investigation into allegations of possible criminal civil rights violations at Idaho's largest private prison, the U.S. Department of Justice is declining to prosecute any current or former guards with Corrections Corporation of America.

The investigation looked at whether any prison staff had criminal liability for inmate-on-inmate assaults between 2006 and 2011 at the CCA-run Idaho Correctional Center south of Boise.

In announcing the decision, Idaho’s U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson said “inmate-on-inmate violence at the ICC has certainly been problematic.” But she says they could not prove correctional staff willfully placed inmates in situations where they knew there was risk of serious harm. Prosecutors didn't believe they would be able to prove elements of a federal crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

Under federal criminal civil rights law, prison guards commit a crime if they willfully fail to stop an assault or are deliberately indifferent to an inmate who is in need of medical care.

Olson said civil lawsuits, brought by the inmates against Corrections Corporation of America were a more appropriate vehicle for addressing the assaults.