Inmates allege gang violence in Idaho Correctional Center

Credit: Angstman Johnson Attorneys

Inmates allege gang violence in Idaho Correctional Center

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by Stephanie Zepelin

Bio | Email | Follow: @ktvbstephanie

KTVB.COM

Posted on November 14, 2012 at 12:43 PM

KUNA -- A new lawsuit from Idaho inmates says the company running a private prison in Kuna known as the Idaho Correctional Center isn't protecting inmates from gang violence behind the bars. It alleges the people running the prison let gangs gain a power base in the prison.
   
Earlier this year, other inmates not from this video sued the Corrections Corporation of America in federal court claiming the Idaho Correctional Center, south of Boise, was so violent that it is known as "Gladiator School."

Corrections Corporation of America operates the Idaho Correctional Center through a contract with the Idaho Department of Corrections. Eight prisoners filed a suit Tuesday against the Corrections Corporation of America.

"These violent prison gangs were able to follow through on this attack because they are housed together in the prison, they are given a broader power base, and they are able to act somewhat freely," said Wyatt Johnson with Angstman Johnson Attorneys, who are representing the inmates.

Inmates told these lawyers the gangs live together and work together in the prison. They are either recruited to the gang or victimized by its members.

We spoke with a former prison guard, who asked we hide his identity. He said what he saw while working there is consistent with the lawsuit.
     
"You would see a lot of the housing units that were one gang or one race, and when you went to another unit, it would be a completely different race," said the former guard.

He said being a tougher guard made your job tougher.

"Basically in our prisons here, it's the inmates kind of run things are we're just kind of their babysitters," he said.

The attorneys say their clients are not the only victims.

"We believe that the attacks at ICC are the latest in a series of events that have been continuing for a long period of time," said Johnson.

Corrections Corporation of America spokesperson Steve Owen told the Associated Press, "Safety and security for inmates and employees is the company's top priority, and that the company takes all allegations seriously and works to swiftly correct problems."

The attorneys believe the gangs members in the video are part of the gangs who call themselves the Aryan Knights and the Severely Violent Criminals.

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