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Idaho Inmate Died After More Than a Year in GEO's Solitary Confinement

The Magic Valley Times-News' Andrea Jackson had an important piece last week ("Inmate died in solitary confinement," August 28th) on the death of Idaho inmate Randall McCullough at GEO Group's Bill Clayton Detention Center in Littlefield, Texas. Unfortunately, the article does not appear to be online anymore, but this is an excerpt:

An Idaho prison inmate held at a private facility in Texas through the state's Virtual Prison Program was in solitary confinement for more than a year when he apparently killed himself, authorities have confirmed.

Idaho Department of Correction is still investigating the cause and manner of death for the inmate, Randall McCullough, 37, who was found unresponsive Aug. 18 in his cell, which measured 7.5 feet, by 12 feet, by 8 feet, said Idaho Department of Correction Spokesman Jeff Ray.

McCullough had been segregated from other inmates since Dec. 13, 2007, after he allegedly assaulted a staff member at the Bill Clayton Detention Center run by Geo Group Inc., said Ray.

He apparently wasn't criminally charged for that alleged assault in Texas. "It's our understanding that the prosecutor in Texas had not made a decision on whether or not to file charges," said Ray. "The staff assault occurred in Texas and would be considered a Texas crime. IDOC would not have a direct connection to it."

If GEO is dealing with potential crimes committed within their prisons by not referring them to the criminal justice system and instead simply remanding prisoners to solitary confinement, Idaho and other clients should ask major concerns about GEO Group operations. Of course, Idaho shouldn't need any more evidence that sending prisoners to GEO's Texas prisons is a bad idea.

Read more about the latest tragedy in a Texas GEO Group prison here.

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Has anyone thought of providing a statistic on the death rate of private prisons versus public prisons? Out of 1 inmate, how many were incarcerated that did not die? How does that compare to Idaho State statistics?

It's our understanding that the prosecutor in Texas had not made a decision on whether or not to file charges

i knew that inmate that killed himself i spoke with him just about every other day and never thought that he was in any danger to himself or others after the assult on a lt. i didnt understand why they (meaning admin) would still have kept him in the hole for so long when this happened i felt sad for him and also his family but i also felt sad for the corrections officer which i worked with side by side for a long time because this shocked him very bady and he still is scared f the legalities of what had happened and what this means for him we always ran short handed sometimes forced to work 12 - 16 hrs a day since this happened i have not worked at a prison for the fear of the same happening to me.....