BOISE, Idaho

Privately run prison has high rate of inmate violence

BOISE, Idaho – In the last four years, Idaho’s largest privately run prison has faced federal lawsuits, widespread public scrutiny, increased state oversight, changes in upper management and even an ongoing FBI investigation.

Yet the Corrections Corp. of America-run Idaho Correctional Center remains the most violent lockup in Idaho.

Records obtained by The Associated Press show that while the assault rate improved somewhat in the four-year period examined, ICC inmates are still more than twice as likely to be assaulted as those at other Idaho prisons.

Between September 2007 and September 2008, both ICC and the state-run Idaho State Correctional Institution were medium-security prisons with roughly 1,500 inmates each. But during that 12-month span, ICC had 132 inmate-on-inmate assaults, compared to just 42 at ISCI. In 2008, ICC had more assaults than all other Idaho prisons combined.

By 2010, both prisons had grown with 2,080 inmates at ICC and 1,688 inmates at ISCI. Records collected by the AP showed that there were 118 inmate-on-inmate assaults at ICC compared to 38 at ISCI. And again last year, ICC had more assaults than all the other prisons combined.

CHICAGO

Former Weezer musician found dead in hotel room

Former Weezer bass player Mikey Welsh, who also found success in his second career as an artist, died in a Chicago hotel room, police said Sunday.

Chicago police spokeswoman Laura Kubiak said Welsh was supposed to check out of the Raffaello Hotel at 1 p.m. Saturday. When he didn’t, hotel staff went to his room, entered it and found him unconscious and not breathing, Kubiak said.

The cause of death was undetermined pending toxicology tests, according to an autopsy performed Sunday by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. Test results could take up to six weeks, authorities said. Kubiak said there’s nothing to indicate foul play.

Welsh, 40, of Burlington, Vt., performed with Weezer from 1998 to 2001, leaving after suffering a nervous breakdown, according to the band’s website. He eventually established himself in a second career as a painter. 

SACRAMENTO, Calif.

New law bans tanning beds for those under age 18

California girls who dream about the sun-kissed skin glorified in song by Katy Perry will have to wait until they turn 18 before they can get the effect from tanning beds under a new first-in-the-nation law.

Gov. Jerry Brown announced Sunday that he had signed into law a bill that prevents children under 18 from using the popular tanning method. The law takes effect Jan. 1.

Although Texas has banned the use of tanning beds for children under 16, SB746 bill makes California the first state to set a higher age limit. Thirty other states also have some age restrictions on the use, said the bill’s author, state Sen. Ted Lieu.

Under current law, children 14 and under in California already cannot use the beds, but those ages 15 to 17 can do so with permission from their parents. Illinois, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island have considered an age limit similar to California’s, but have yet to enact them, said the Democrat from Torrance, Calif.

MARATHON, Fla.

One dead, seven rescued after 20 hours in water off Keys

The U.S. Coast Guard says one woman died and seven people not wearing life vests treaded water in choppy seas for 20 hours before being rescued off the Florida Keys.

Petty Officer Nick Ameen says a person who rescued three of the boaters called the Coast Guard about 8 a.m. Sunday and told them others were still in the water. He says about an hour later a Coast Guard crew found the four who had drifted about four miles from the boat that capsized and sank Saturday afternoon off Marathon.

He says the group was not able to stay together and an 80-year-old woman never resurfaced. He says among those rescued was a 4-year-old girl.

He says the boaters likely were taken to a hospital but did not have their conditions.

— From news service reports