A former inmate is suing a private prison company, saying guards watched as he was beaten by a fellow inmate in an attack that went on so long his assailant had time to stop and drink some water before continuing.Attorneys for Hanni Elabed filed the lawsuit against the Correction Corporation of America in Boise's U.S. District Court late last week, saying their client was left brain damaged and may never fully recover from the assault at the Idaho Correctional Center near Boise.
As I wrote a few weeks ago, Idaho has done little to reduce its prison population. Continued decline in funding and increases in inmates is a surefire formula for disaster. Problems with indigent defense system and at the Idaho Commission on Pardons and Parole only exacerbate an already dire situation.
Idaho should break its contract with CCA. Maintaining this "business" relationship will only lead to more liability for the state. The legislature should immediately enact steps to ease the pressure on prisons, local jails, and community corrections. The growing violence at Idaho's prisons cannot be allowed to continue. The overarching philosophy that continues to be ignored is that people are sent to prison as punishment, not for punishment.