The FBI has taken over Idaho’s investigation into the private prison company accused of running a “gladiator school” and turning over control to prison gangs to save money on guards at the state’s largest corrections facility.
Officials from the Corrections Corporation of America admitted last year to violating its contract with the state by understaffing the Idaho Correctional Center (ICC) by thousands of hours.
The governor bowed to political pressure last month and ordered state police to complete the investigation they’d been ordered to perform last year, reported the Associated Press.
Democratic lawmakers asked the FBI to take over that stalled investigation earlier this year, and state officials confirmed federal agents have interviewed the director of Idaho’s department of corrections.
The Department of Justice requested a copy of an audit that showed CCA had understaffed the prison by up to 26,000 hours in 2012, although the company disputes the findings.
The ACLU sued the prison company in 2010 on behalf of employees who said the facility was so violent that inmates called it “Gladiator School,” and the suit blamed the violence on chronic understaffing.
A Boise law firmed filed another suit in 2012 claiming that CCA had given over control of the facility to prison gangs so they could cut staffing and save money on employee wages.
That led to an attack by one prison gang on another group of inmates, according to the suit.
The company agreed last month to pay $1 million to Idaho, which pays CCA about $29 million a year, to settle understaffing claims.
CCA has been sued at least 279 times in five years, according to Courthouse News, including last month by prison guards at ICC who claim the company outfitted them with faulty equipment.
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