A federal judge says the Idaho Department of Prisons was in contempt of court for a time for failing to follow court orders designed to improve health care for inmates, but the problems appear to have been fixed.
The ruling from U.S. District Judge David Carter means the state doesn't face any punitive fines for now. More importantly, it means the judge isn't currently planning on extending the amount of time that health care at the Idaho State Correctional Institution remains under federal court oversight.
That could bring welcome relief for lawmakers and prison leaders, who have been running the prison south of Boise under the watchful eye of the federal courts for decades. But it also means the stakes are high for inmates at the prison, because once this lawsuit ends, prisoners will have little recourse if medical delivery problems resume.