Private prison firm pays Idaho $1 million after it was found to be running a "gladiator school"
The prison paid a small fine but refused to admit wrongdoing for allegedly defrauding the government, faking payroll data, and encouraging gladiator-style fights amongst inmates.
One of the world’s largest private prison firms agreed to pay Idaho $1 million on Tuesday to compensate the state corrections department for thousands of hours in falsified staffing records while key security positions were left vacant.
A lawsuit that initially exposed chronic under-staffing by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) depicted violence — unchecked by an adequate presence of guards and other staff — as so rampant at Idaho Correctional Center that it was known by its inmates as “gladiator school.” Inmates alleged staff encouraged brutal fights between prisoners as a management tool, and another lawsuit by prison guards now alleges that their safety was put in jeopardy by under-staffing. As part of a 2011 settlement of the case in which it admitted no wrongdoing, CCA agreed to make some improvements, including more careful monitoring.
Corrections Corporation of America later admitted that it had reported staffing for at least 4,800 hours during which mandatory security posts were actually vacant. But in September, a federal judge held CCA in contempt for failing to comply with the earlier settlement, and wrote, “it is clear that non-compliance was far worse than the report of about 4,800 hours would lead one to believe.” It ordered a steep fine for future misreported hours.