FBI Probes Prison Known as 'Gladiator School'

Audit found serious understaffing; facility said to be run by gangs
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2014 2:03 PM CST
FBI Probes Prison Known as 'Gladiator School'
This June 15, 2010, file photo, shows the Idaho Correctional Center south of Boise, Idaho.   (AP Photo/Charlie Litchfield, File)

Violence at Idaho's biggest prison has prompted inmates to call it "Gladiator School," and now the FBI is on the case. Federal agents are taking over an Idaho investigation into the private Nashville, Tennessee-based firm Corrections Corporation of America, which runs the Idaho Correctional Center, the AP reports. After an AP investigation, the company last year admitted to serious understaffing as well as fake reports to keep it quiet. The AP's report found that guards were known to work 48-hour shifts.

A recent state audit found that the prison was understaffed by some 26,000 hours in 2012, though CCA rejects the claim. A 2012 lawsuit, meanwhile, alleged that in an effort to save money, CCA allowed prison gangs to control the facility. Idaho's attorney general urged Gov. Butch Otter to order an investigation earlier this year. Otter initially rejected the idea but did order one last month, the AP notes. Democratic Idaho lawmakers called for FBI involvement last month. Now a US attorney says the bureau is "looking at whether various federal fraud statutes were violated and possibly other federal statutes connected with the fraud." (More prison stories.)

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