Idaho Judge Seals Inflammatory Prison Report; Hearing Set


Idaho Department of Correction officials say a report on health care and other conditions at a Boise prison is so inflammatory that it must remain sealed, reports the Associated Press. U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill appointed a prison health care expert last year to see if Idaho is complying with a ruling in a lawsuit brought by inmates at the Idaho State Correctional Institution. The report was filed under seal last month, and the judge ordered attorneys to review the document to see if any information should be redacted to protect health privacy concerns.

Though they agreed no such redactions were needed, the state says the report should be sealed anyway because the public could mistakenly believe it amounted to the opinion of the court, leading to an “unjustified public scandal.” A hearing on the matter is set for Thursday afternoon. Idaho Deputy Attorney General Colleen Zahn wrote the report has “serious deficiencies” that “resulted in inflammatory and unsupported legal findings accusing the Department and its third-party medical contractor, Corizon, Inc., of serious constitutional violations.” Circulating those findings would amount to libel, Zahn contends.

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