Amid criticism of the way Idaho inmates are treated at a privately run Texas prison, state officials are sending more inmates to a troubled facility run by the same company, reports the Associated Press. Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter yesterday approved sending 40 inmates to the Val Verde Correctional Facility and Jail in Del Rio, Tx., as they try to ease prison overcrowding. Last week, the state announced plans to move 125 inmates from Dickens County Correctional Center in Spur, Tx., citing poor living conditions.
Both Dickens and Val Verde are run by a Florida-based company called the GEO Group. The business operates more than 50 prisons across the United States as well as in Australia and South Africa. Documents obtained by The Associated Press show Idaho did little monitoring of out-of-state inmates, despite repeated complaints from prisoners, their families, and a prison inspector. At the Val Verde jail near the Mexican border, an inmate killed herself after alleging she was raped by an inmate and sexually humiliated by a guard. A black guard accused his captain of having a hangman’s noose and a photo of himself in a Ku Klux Klan hood in his office. GEO settled lawsuits in both cases.