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Idaho Correctional Center dubbed 'gladiator school' by inmates

By Stephanie Dearing     Dec 1, 2010 in Crime
Boise - The Idaho Correctional Center is a privately-owned facility in the United States, and now it is being investigated by the FBI after footage of a savage beating of one inmate by another was leaked to the Associated Press.
24 year old inmate, Hanni Elabed, was beaten so badly by fellow inmate, James Haver, Elabed suffered permanent brain damage, said the Associated Press, which broke the story. Haver's brutal attack, which was watched by at least three guards who work for the facility, put Elabed into a coma for three days said New York Daily News. The beating took place in January 2010, reported the Associated Press.
The AP now claims its release of the video footage has prompted an FBI investigation into the facility. The jail has been the focus lawsuits filed by former inmates who allege beaten prisoners are denied medical attention as a way for the facility to avoid detection.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been championing the rights of prisoners held at the Idaho Facility. Boise Weekly reported the ACLU had launched a lawsuit against the Idaho Correctional Center for some $25 million.
The lawsuit, said the ACLU, was originally filed in 2009, but re-filed in March. The complaint details some of the prisoner-to-prisoner brutality that has taken place at the facility. ACLU said "... the lawsuit charges that epidemic violence at the facility is the direct result of, among other things, ICC officials turning a blind eye to the brutality, a prison culture that relies on the degradation, humiliation and subjugation of prisoners, a failure to discipline guards who intentionally arrange assaults and a reliance on violence as a management tool."
Besides allegedly denying injured prisoners medical care, guards routinely protected themselves from complaints about encouraging the violence by filing disciplinary charges against the victims of the violence, said the ACLU.
In the complaint filed with the court, the ACLU said "ICC is an extraordinarily violent prison. It is known in Idaho as "Gladiator School" for a reason. More violence occurs at ICC than at Idaho's eight other prisons combined, and the unnecessary carnage and suffering that has resulted is shameful and inexcusable. ICC not only condones prisoner violence, the entrenched culture of ICC promotes, facilitates, and encourages it. Indeed, ICC staff cruelly use prisoner violence as a management tool."
Talk Radio 950 Koze AM said three former guards had provided affidavits backing the allegations in the ACLU lawsuit. Corrections Corp. of America has asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed, claiming the allegations are all false.
Gladiator schools were common in ancient Rome. In those days, gladiators were prisoners who were taught to fight for the pleasure of Roman audiences. Should a gladiator survive the brutal lifestyle, they were usually freed after three to five years, says The Classics Technology Center.
Built in 2000, the Idaho Correctional Center is run by a private company called the Corrections Corp. of America. The jail provides holdings for minimum and medium-custody males, said the Idaho Department of Correction. Corrections Corp. of America bills itself as "... the nation’s leading provider of correctional solutions to federal, state and local government." The company has not yet issued a statement regarding the Idaho Correctional Center, nor has the Idaho Department of Correction.
The treatment of prisoners at American detention facilities has long been a subject of concern for the ACLU, which has documented numerous cases of alleged abuses. In the most recent case taken on by the organization, in conjunction with the Southern Poverty Law Center, is a youth detention facility in Mississippi. The two organizations allege "... the children there are forced to live in barbaric and unconstitutional conditions and are subjected to excessive uses of force by prison staff." Some of those unconstitutional conditions, said ACLU included not allowing the incarcerated children access to education and medical care.
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