Idaho Needs $1.6 Million to Improve Medical Standards


According to the Associated Press, the Idaho Legislature will be tasked with finding $1.6 million more for the Idaho Department of Correction in order to fund significant stopgap measures to improve medical conditions at the Idaho State Correctional Institution.

In March, an independent 94-page report deemed heath care at the lock-up suffered "serious problems" that violated "the right of inmates at ISCI to be protected from cruel and unusual punishment." In one instance an inmate, whose X-rays discovered a lesion on his chest, was not informed of his condition for seven months thus denying him "his basic human right to participate in his care."

"It really gives you goose bumps," said Lea Cooper, American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho staff attorney. "The way we treat the least powerful members in our society says a lot about our society."

But on Tuesday evening, IDOC signed a new agreement that requires more medical caregivers on site, in addition to the establishment of an ombudsman to provide oversight and field complaints. The prison has six months to get the changes under way, followed by a two-year monitoring period.

But the first course of business will be to secure funding from Idaho lawmakers.