Boise Weekly is Pulled, Then Returned to Idaho Prison 

Why did an Idaho warden order 200 issues into a recycling bin?

All the news that's fit to print isn't always the news that the Idaho Department of Correction sees fit to read. That may be why the warden at the Idaho State Correctional Institution, the largest and oldest prison in the IDOC system, didn't want inmates to have their regular access to Boise Weekly.

On Thursday, July 16, 200 copies of the latest edition of BW, which included allegations from IDOC caregivers and inmates that medical records had been tampered with and a court-ordered investigation of the prison's mental health unit had been "tainted," were pulled from prisoner access. According to an IDOC spokesman, the papers were later found in a recycling bin.

"Given the nature of recent stories in the Boise Weekly, [an IDOC] staff member asked the [ISCI] warden if he wanted him to put out this week's edition," IDOC Director Kevin Kempf told BW in an email, adding that the warden had not been aware BW was distributed in such large quantities and decided to limit access to the paper to six copies in the prison library.

Inside that edition, BW reported that several IDOC staffers had been deposed in anticipation of a federal court hearing to investigate allegations that medical records had been altered or destroyed in order to save the state from having to provide treatment to some inmates—particularly those requesting that they be tested for a possible diagnosis of gender identity disorder.

In the same story, BW quoted a former IDOC official who had been, up until a few months ago, responsible for the integrity of information recorded and disseminated at IDOC. He told BW that, "people with firsthand knowledge are moving beyond fear to the truth."

As BW was going to press, a new hearing on the matter was getting under way at the United States courthouse in Boise and was expected to include testimony from prisoners and IDOC employees.

Kempf wrote to BW "I recognize this was a mistake" to limit the number of copies available to prisoners.

"The remaining 200 copies will be distributed ASAP," he wrote.

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