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.