Monday, March 23, 2015

AP: More Allegations of Sexual Abuse at IDJC Nampa Facility

Posted By on Mon, Mar 23, 2015 at 9:54 AM

More allegations—and more legal challenges—are being lodged against the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections detention center in Nampa.

The Associated Press reports that five former inmates say they were subjected to sexual abuse at the facility. The alleged victims are seeking general and punitive damages to be proved at trial.

In October 2014, IDJC Director Sharon Harrigfeld said she was "profoundly troubled" by allegations that former staff at the detention center had sexually abused the youths they were sworn to protect. There had been three abuse claims at that time, and the U.S. Department of Justice promised to send a team to inspect the facility.

In 2012, an ex-IDJC security officer was jailed for having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old male inmate. The alleged victim filed a lawsuit against the state and IDJC, saying he suffered emotional and personal distress as a result of statutory rape. The former security guard pleaded guilty to the charges in 2013.
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Thursday, March 12, 2015

IDOC Director: 'Frustration' Triggers Change in Probation/Parole Services

Posted By on Thu, Mar 12, 2015 at 12:02 PM

In a sweeping change triggered by an internal review that revealed frustration and internal confusion over supervisory reporting structure, the Idaho Department of Correction announced today that it was eliminating one of its divisions and reallocating resources to provide more community supervision of offenders.

IDOC's new director Kevin Kempf said the changes come in the wake of a review which revealed that personnel, both in central office and in the field, were "frustrated with a disjointed and confusing supervisory reporting structure, especially in the Education, Treatment, and Reentry Division.

"This frustration is not a reflection of anyone in this area," said Kempf. "It's simply a structural issue that has staff in the ETR division making decisions but not having the authority to carry them out."

As a result, Kempf has eliminated the division and shifted 15 positions to the field to provide direct services as probation and parole officers. Additionally, nine other IDOC staff are being shifted to other areas of the agency.

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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Firing Squad Execution Bills Clear Houses in Wyoming, Utah

Posted By on Sat, Feb 14, 2015 at 11:54 AM

Two bills aimed at making firing squads the backup method of execution are now in the hands of state senates in Wyoming and Utah.

Last year, a similar bill surfaced in Wyoming, where its sponsor, Sen. Bruce Burns, said that in the absence of lethal injection drugs the state could use a firing squad to execute condemned prisoners. 

"The state of Wyoming doesn't have a gas chamber currently, an operating gas chamber, so the procedure and expense to build one would be impractical to me," Burns said at the time.

A similar bill cleared the Wyoming House in a 31-29 vote on Feb. 13, though the Wyoming Senate has rejected the House version of the bill. Supporters in the Senate have said they may try to bring the issue to a vote again next week when four members of the Senate have returned.

Meanwhile, in Utah, a nearly identical bill has cleared the Republican-controlled House in a 39-34 vote, and is on its way to consideration in the Senate.

Though Utah eliminated execution by firing squad in 2004, death row inmate Ronnie Lee Gardner was given the choice between lethal injection and the firing squad in 2010 because he was convicted before the law changed. No other American has been executed by firing squad since.
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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Idaho Maximum Security Inmate Dies in Custody

Posted By on Tue, Jan 6, 2015 at 9:55 AM

The Ada County Sheriff’s Office has been called in to assist the Idaho Department of Correction in its investigation of a suicide at the state’s maximum security prison in Kuna.

Inmate Donald Shriver, 48, was discovered unconscious in his cell in the late evening hours of Jan. 4. He was rushed to a Boise hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Shriver had been serving a life sentence for several convictions including assault, aggravated battery and robbery. According to the Idaho Department of Correction, staff at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution immediately initiated resuscitation measures when they discovered Shriver. 
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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Kevin Kempf Named as New Idaho Prison Director

Posted By on Wed, Dec 3, 2014 at 3:32 PM

A 19-year veteran of the Idaho Department of Correction was named as the department's new top executive late Wedneday.

Kevin Kempf served as a correctional officer at the Pocatello Women's Correctional Center, parole officer, investigator, section supervisor, district manager, warden, chief of prisons and, most recently, IDOC deputy director.

Reinke replaces Brent Reinke who stepped down from IDOC's top post on Nov. 26.

“My absolute top priority is the safety of the people of the state of Idaho,” Kempf says. “I look forward to working with the board to assure that offenders are held accountable while offering the tools they need to those who are ready to change and become law-abiding citizens.”

Kempf will oversee nearly 2,000 IDOC employees, responsible for nearly 22,00 felony offenders, in the department's nine prisons, four community re-entry centers and seven probation and parole districts. The department's budget is approximately $220 million.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Heater Goes Out In Washington County Jail

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 2:46 PM

The now weeklong blast of arctic air has triggered some school closures, snarled traffic and brought the temperature down considerably at the Washington County Jail.

Boise Weekly was alerted to the problem by a family member of an inmate who said that the heat had been off "for more than a week," but Washington Coounty Sheriff Matt Thomas says "that's not exactly true."

"Yes, we had a heater go out Tuesday (Nov. 18) in one of our pods," said Thomas, referring to a cell area that houses up to six inmates. "But I can tell you that the temperature has never gone below 68 degrees there. We have a thermostat there that we're checking regularly."

But getting a necessary part for the broken heater has been another problem.

"We were hoping to get that part today," Thomas told BW late Thursday. "But as soon as we get it, we'll get that heater going again."

Thomas said at no time were inmates needed to be moved due to cold.

Thomas told BW that currently, his county jail in Weiser was housing more than 40 inmates, including prisoners from other counties, and state and federal inmates.
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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Idaho Juvenile Corrections Director: 'I'm Profoundly Troubled by Allegations'

Posted By on Sun, Oct 5, 2014 at 11:00 AM

  • Idaho Department of Correction
  • IDJC Director Sharon Harrigfeld

Saying that she is "profoundly troubled" by allegations that former staff at the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections sexually abused the youths that they were sworn to protect, the director of IDJC said she's preparing to fully cooperate with a federal inspection of her facility's operations.

In an open letter sent to newspapers throughout Idaho, IDJC Director Sharon Harrigfeld's comments came in the wake of a third abuse claim, alleging that another male inmate was sexually abused by staffers inside the detention center. The latest tort claim alleges that a 16-year-old boy was abused by two staffers, a detention center nurse and a medical assistant intern. The claim also alleges that the nurse intentionally left the inmate in an unlocked area where he and other juveniles had free access to prescription medications. The allegation accuses the nurse of intimidating the boy, saying no one would believe him if he reported the abuse.

In her published comments, Harrigfeld insists that there is new leadership at the Nampa detention center, which is "working every day to ensure what allegedly happened before will never happen again—in Nampa or any other Idaho Juvenile Corrections facility."

The U.S. Department of Justice is scheduled to send a team to inspect the facility within the next six months .

"It is important to note that the alleged incidents occurred several years ago, and that a number of significant steps have been taken to address those concerns and restore public confidence in Juvenile Corrections," wrote Harrigfeld. 
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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Idaho Death Row Inmate Dies in Prison's Medical Unit

Posted By on Thu, Jul 10, 2014 at 9:07 AM

An Idaho inmate, who has been on death row for more than a decade, died July 9 after an extended illness.

Michael Jauhola, 41, began a life of crime in 1993, when he was convicted of voluntary manslaughter for the stabbing of a rival gang member. While he waited for sentencing, he escaped but was caught and sentenced in 1994 to 17 years in the state prison. In 1999, he was convicted of killing another prison inmate with a baseball bat. In 2001, he was sentenced to death.

But this morning, the Associated Press reports that Jauhola was under the care of a prison doctor and had been in the prison's medical unit since May. According to a spokeswoman for the Idaho Department of Correction, his "death was expected because of his illness."

The AP reports that the Ada County coroner will verify the cause of death.

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Sunday, June 8, 2014

UPDATE: Idaho Prison Escapees Recaptured

Posted By on Sun, Jun 8, 2014 at 7:04 AM

UPDATE: June 8, 2014

The Idaho Department of Correction reports that two inmates who had escaped from the North Idaho Correctional Institution on June 4 were taken back into custody, without incident, in the evening hours of June 7.

Acting on a tip, law enforcement discovered 23-year-old Tyler Davis and 23-year-old Dylan Ames near Swallows Park, south of Clarkston, Washington, near the Idaho border.

The two men now face the possibility of additional charges related to their escape.

ORIGINAL POST: June 4, 2014

The Idaho Department of Correction is alerting the public that two inmates have escaped from the North Idaho Correctional Institution in Cottonwood. IDOC said the two inmates escaped just before noon today while they were helping to unload a delivery truck.

Tyler Davis, 23, is described as a white male, approximately 200 pounds, 5-feet 9-inches tall, with brown hair and green eyes. In March, he was sentenced to two-to-five years behind bars for grand theft.

Dylan Ames, 23, is described as a white male, approximately 175 pounds, 6-feet tall, with black hair and brown eyes. In February, he was sentenced to five-to-10 years for possession of a controlled substance and intent to deliver a controlled substance.

Both men were wearing green shirts and blue jeans at the time of their escape.

Anyone with information about the inmates should contact local law enforcement.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

UPDATE: Escaped IDOC Inmate Captured in Lewiston

Posted By on Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 2:51 PM

UPDATE: June 3, 2014

The Idaho Department of Correction reported Tuesday afternoon that an inmate who had escaped from the Adams County Jail on May 24th has been captured with the assistance of the Lewiston Police Department and the Nez Perce County Sheriff's Office.

Just before 1 a.m. June 3rd, law enforcement found 47-year-old Robert Williston in Lewiston. Williston was taken into custody without incident. Williston now faces the possibility of new charges in connection with his escape.

ORIGINAL POST: May 26, 2014

Michael Williston, 47, escaped from the Adams County Jail.

Law enforcement from throughout the region have been notified and officials at the Idaho Department of Correction want the public to know that an inmate escaped over the weekend from the Adams County Jail in Council.

Robert Williston, 47, had been locked up for a string of convictions, including attempted strangulation, grand theft, first-degree burglary, grand larceny and fraudulent use of a financial transaction.

His current prison term would have been completed in August of 2025 and Williston was eligible to be considered for parole in 2021.

But on the evening of May 24, Williston scaled the Adams County Jail fence and took off on foot.

Williston is described as Asian-American, with a shaved head and brown eyes. He's six-foot-one, and weighs approximately 195 pounds.

Anyone with information about Williston's whereabouts should contact their local law enforcement agency.

Michael Williston, 47, escaped from the Adams County Jail.

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