On September 9, 1982, female inmates at the North Idaho Correctional Institution (NICI) in Cottonwood, Idaho, filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Idaho Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho. The plaintiffs, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union National Prison Project and Idaho Legal Aid Services, alleged that their constitutional rights had been violated by gender discrimination in the areas of work-release, study-release, vocational training, education, employment, recreation, visitation, day passes, furloughs, and parole. They also alleged that their constitutional rights had been violated by inhumane conditions at the prison, including inadequate housing, food, sanitation, medical care, mental health care, personal security, access to courts, access to publications, classification procedures, and disciplinary procedures.
On January 23, 1983, the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho (Judge Harold L. Ryan) approved a settlement agreement and administratively terminated the case. The agreement covered the areas of vocational training, education, work assignments, prison industries, recreation, passes and furloughs, parole, commissary access, telephone, mail, personal property, visitation, physical facilities, medical care, dental care, mental health care, personal hygiene supplies, classification procedures, disciplinary procedures, grievance procedures, staffing, access to courts, access to counsel, and censorship procedures. In May, 1988, the court approved a supplemental stipulated agreement further refining the requirements of the original settlement agreement.
On July 13, 1989, the plaintiffs asked the district court to hold the defendants in contempt for failure to comply with the agreement. On January 17, 1991, the district court (Judge Ryan) reopened the case for consideration of the motion for contempt. On May 7, 1991, the parties entered into an interim agreement, which was approved by the court on July 11, 1991. In the interim agreement, the defendants agreed (subject to funding by the state legislature) to construct a new institution for women prisoners in Idaho. It also contained specific agreements in the areas of medical and mental health, environmental safety, security, food service and sanitation, and programming. The interim agreement stated that the original settlement agreement remained in full force and was not superseded by this new agreement.
On January 23, 1993, the district court (Judge Ryan) administratively terminated the case without prejudice. On May 24, 1994, the plaintiffs asked the district court to reopen the case, alleging that the settlement agreement had been violated. On July 27, 1994, the district court (Judge Ryan) reopened the case. On July 26, 1995, the parties signed an agreement stating that the defendants were in compliance with the settlement agreement in the areas of censorship, passes and furloughs, non-legal telephone, personal hygiene supplies, personal property, discipline, parole, visitation, and non-legal mail. The agreement also stated that, although the defendants were in compliance with the original settlement agreement in the areas of medical, dental, psychiatric, and psychological services, they were considering privatizing the entire system, and the plaintiffs reserved the right to review the adequacy of the system if it changed. The agreement stated that the defendants were not in compliance in the areas of classification, grievance procedures, vocational training, work assignments, recreation, education, access to counsel, access to courts, physical facilities, commissary access, prison industries, and staffing.
On August 22, 1995, the parties made a joint motion for administrative termination, which the district court (Judge Larry M. Boyle) granted on August 29, 1995. On December 5, 1995, the district court (Judge B. Lynn Winmill) awarded attorneys fees to the plaintiffs' counsel.
On December 29, 1995, the parties signed a second compliance agreement, which stated that the defendants were in full or substantial compliance with the settlement agreement in all areas, with four exceptions: smoking in the prison, book collection and inventory lists, access to courts, and prison industries.
On January 9, 1997, the defendants asked the district court to reopen the case and to terminate the consent decree in accordance with the Prison Litigation Reform Act. On January 28, 1997, the district court (Judge Boyle) reopened the case. On March 11, 1997, the parties made a joint motion for approval of a stipulation of dismissal. On April 24, 1997, the district court (Judge Edward J. Lodge) approved the stipulation of dismissal and dismissed the case with prejudice. Kristen Sagar - 07/10/2006