FBI Investigating Idaho 'Gladiator School' Prison
Video of inmate beaten into coma underscores level of violence
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2010 6:28 AM CST
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(Newser) – The FBI launched an investigation into a privately run Idaho prison after the AP published a video of an inmate savagely beating another as guards looked on. The inmate, who banged on a guard station window to plead for help and suffered brain damage in the attack, is one of several suing the Idaho Correctional Center. Critics claim the prison—dubbed "gladiator school" because of the level of violence—uses inmate-on-inmate violence to control prisoners and denies them medical care to cover up the number of injuries.

Corrections Corporation of America, the nation's largest prison company, criticized the AP's decision to release the video. "Public release of the video poses an unnecessary security risk to our staff, the inmates entrusted to our care, and ultimately to the public," the company said in a statement. An ACLU lawyer says the Idaho prison is the most violent of the more than 100 prisons he has sued. "This isn't even what we know of as a prison," he says. "This is a gulag,"

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Chris Wolfe
Dec 1, 2010 5:32 PM CST
I agree that jails, prisons, and police agencies should not be privatized. Neither should hospitals, schools, and public utilities, but all of those happen also. That said, I think it's awfully disturbing that the majority of the comments on the internet about this situation look at it from the standpoint that the officers should have rushed in to save the inmate being beaten. While it is a terrible thing for the inmate to have been beaten so severely, the safety of the officers working in the area should never be ignored or disregarded. We have no idea how many inmates were in the living unit where this occurred. It appeared that there weren't a lot, but what we don't see is just as important as what we do see. Judging by the scale of the area, based on ten years of working in a correctional facility and touring countless others, I would guess that there could have been as many as 50-60 inmates housed in the pictured unit. In jails and prisons, not everything is as it seems. Inmates may start fights just to distract officers from other activities or to draw them into a setup. What if this had been an escape plot? Say there are only forty inmates in the area, or even just 25, what could the 4-6 officers have done to prevent this from happening? I'll tell you the outcome, they would be hostages or they would be dead. These are the scenarios that we are forced to assume in this field. I guarantee that this facility has a policy prohibiting officers entering a hostile living unit to break up a fight between inmates until they are able to radio for assistance. We aren't heartless, we aren't cruel, we are protective of the men and women on whom we come to rely to protect our lives. Unfortunately, out of necessity, the inmate comes second.
Dec 1, 2010 2:24 PM CST
"Corrections Corporation of America, the nation's largest prison company, criticized the AP's decision to release the video." ---- Yes. It is the AP's fault that this guy has brain damage.
Dec 1, 2010 11:56 AM CST
Prisons should absolutely not be privately owned companies.