Ruling that medical records of Idaho inmates should be afforded the same protections as the general public, a U.S. District Court judge agreed Friday that details involving medical care involving offenders, including treatment and financial specifics, could be permanently hidden from public view.
The Associated Press reports that the protective order was handed down by U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill as part of a decades-long lawsuit involving inadequate care at the Idaho State Correctional Institute. Winmill's order will allow either the Idaho Department of Correction or inmates to determine if any record should be considered confidential.
“I take it very, very seriously,” IDOC Director Brent Reinke told the AP. “I want our staff and I to have that level of trust with the public. We take each and every public records request very seriously, and we will on occasion debate it several times before a decision is made. We do believe in transparency whenever possible. We do believe in staff security, and safety, and we try to be as open and honest as we possibly can.”
A lawsuit, launched in 1981, remains in federal court while IDOC continues to manage its end of a settlement agreement regarding conditions at ISCI.