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

(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,"

Former inmate Hanni Elabed is shown during an interview with The Associated Press in Boise, Idaho.
Former inmate Hanni Elabed is shown during an interview with The Associated Press in Boise, Idaho.   (AP Photo/Jessie L. Bonner)
In a frame grab from video obtained by The Associated Press, an inmate attacks fellow inmate Hanni Elabed at the privately-run Idaho Correctional Center.
In a frame grab from video obtained by The Associated Press, an inmate attacks fellow inmate Hanni Elabed at the privately-run Idaho Correctional Center.   (AP Photo)
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The FBI launched an investigation after being shown this video of prisoners fighting.   (ThickShades1)

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