U.S. Attorney Declines to Prosecute in Idaho Private Prison Staffing Case 

click to enlarge U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson declining to prosecute in the case of Corrections Corporation of America. - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson declining to prosecute in the case of Corrections Corporation of America.

U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson announced today that her office is declining to prosecute in the case of Corrections Corporation of America, finding no evidence of a federal offense stemming from allegations that CCA employees had defrauded the state of Idaho by falsifying staffing records and understaffing shifts at the Idaho Correctional Center. 

Corrections Corporation of America admitted in 2013 that it had falsified nearly 4,800 hours in its staffing records.

After a 15-month investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Idaho and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, investigators in Boise and Salt Lake City determined that the staffing records had been falsified by "relatively low-level" employees without the knowledge of middle- or upper-management at CCA. Furthermore, since CCA billed the state based on the number of inmates it oversaw and not on billable hours, the Olson's office concluded that no federal crimes had been committed.

"The FBI's detailed and thorough investigation did not produce evidence of a federal criminal violation," Olsen said during a press conference. 

The announcement comes after U.S. District Judge David Carter ruled in September 2013 that CCA had violated its contract with the state of Idaho.

Further investigation took place into whether the Idaho State Police, the Idaho Department of Correction or the office of the governor had committed a federal crime by hindering, delaying or influencing a criminal investigation. An Idaho State Police investigation into alleged wrongdoing at CCA was turned over to the FBI when state officials and Olson's office agreed that an independent investigation would avoid a conflict of interest, though media reports and court statements made before February 2014 indicated that ISP would conduct the investigation.

"We have conducted an investigation, reviewed its results and concluded that there is insufficient evidence to prove any federal criminal charges beyond a reasonable doubt," Olson said, adding in a news release that misleading statements and reports about the ISP investigation were not knowingly made by officials and were the products of "miscommunications and uncorrected assumptions."

In 2012, eight inmates of the Idaho Correctional Center filed a lawsuit alleging that CCA employees were working with prison gangs to operate the center. Later, in 2013, the Idaho Board of Correction declined to renew the state's contract with CCA, which expired in June 2014. Otter has since indicated that the state will move away from contracting with a private company to run the state's prisons. 
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