Federal court unseals report on prison health care
A report on the Idaho State Correctional Institution says that prison care amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. Those are the findings newly-released, court-ordered report, part of decades of litigation by Idaho inmates.
The state had argued to keep the report sealed, but a federal judge released it to the public on Monday.
Idaho Department authorities are “deliberately indifferent to the serious health care needs of their charges,” says corrections medical expert Dr. Marc Stern, who was appointed by the court to review Idaho prison care.
The report isn’t a decision of the court – just a recommendation – but the details don’t make the State Board of Correction look good.
The report says the quality of medical and mental healthcare is so lacking that it’s resulted in serious harm to inmates.
The report details examples including inmates who were not fed and mistakes that ended in deaths.
It also says the IDOC’s third-party medical provider, Corizon, failed 23 of 33 audit categories in 2010 – and despite feedback and follow-up – failed 26 of 33 categories in 2011.
The Idaho Department of Corrections shot back saying the report contradicts the findings of a 2010 study by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, which it says found the care to “exceed compliance with national healthcare guidelines.”
In a joint statement, the IDOC and Corizon said, “While a few of the allegations raised in the report sent to the court report may be well-founded but unfortunate anomalies, most of them have been or are being addressed.”
But an attorney representing the inmates, Jason Prince of Boise law firm Stoel Rives, applauded the judge’s decision to unseal the findings, adding, “Based on our understanding of the facts of the law, we believe the report speaks for itself and is accurate.”
A federal judge will use the report to consider what happens next with the lawsuit.