Prison death highlights challenges of cellmate assignments

Investigation continues in prison inmate killing
Investigation continues in prison inmate killing
Posted at 10:41 AM, Mar 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-15 12:41:36-04

The recent death of an Idaho prison inmate highlights the difficulties faced by prison officials across the U.S. in determining inmate housing assignments.

Glenn Cox, 52, was serving time for drunken driving when he was found stabbed, beaten and strangled in his cell last September. His cellmate -– James Junior Nice, 45, a triple murderer -- is the only suspect.

Idaho Corrections Director Henry Atencio says he understands why people might question whether a drunken driver should be cellmates with a triple murderer.

The decision was based on a complex number system Idaho and other states use to classify prisoners as minimum-, medium- or maximum-security risks. It scores them in categories such as the amount of time they've served and whether they've broken any prison rules.

Corrections officials say housing assignments are a constant juggling act due to an ever-changing population of inmates and prisons that are often filled to capacity.

The Ada County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the case.

(by Rebecca Boone, Associated Press)