Inmate's Mother to Speak Against Private Texas Prisons

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The mother of an Idaho inmate who killed himself in a private Texas prison will urge Texas lawmakers to stop accepting out-of-state prisoners at their for-profit lockups.

Shirley Noble says she expects to speak tomorrow to the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee. She filed a $500,000 negligence claim against Idaho in August in Scot Noble Payne's death.

Since 2005, Idaho has moved more than 500 inmates to Texas and Oklahoma to relieve overcrowding at home.

Noble says the practice keeps prisoners like her son from family contact needed to rehabilitate them for their eventual return to freedom.

She also blames Idaho and a Florida-based private prison company that runs the Dickens County prison in Spur, Texas. She says they failed to monitor deteriorating conditions that Idaho officials now concede may have contributed to her son's suicide.

Her 43-year-old son slashed his throat while in the Dickens County prison. He was kept alone for months in a cell with a constantly wet floor, bloodstained sheets and smelly towels.

After Payne's death, Idaho Department of Correction officials investigated and called Dickens the worst prison they'd ever seen. The state has until early November to respond to Noble's claim. She said she'll sue if Idaho doesn't settle.