Idaho Prison Officials Ban Use of So-Called “Dry Cells”
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho's top prison official says the state will no longer house inmates in so-called dry cells — a type of cell without beds, sinks or toilets — and that all other segregated housing in the state's prisons is under review.
The Tuesday evening announcement comes in the wake of criticism raised in a long-running lawsuit by a mental health expert and inmates. They contended that the Correction Department's use of the dry cells to control inmates who were actively trying to hurt themselves or others was barbaric and inhumane.
Idaho Department of Correction Director Kevin Kempf said research shows that segregation often does more harm than good, making any existing mental health problem worse and potentially causing long-term psychological damage. He says the state can come up with a better way to protect inmates and staff without relying on a cell that contains nothing but a drain in the floor.