The Canyon County Jail was so overcrowded that it exceeded its capacity by more than 100 prisoners, even though it had over 100 more beds than allowed under the Idaho Sheriff's Association Jail Standards. The jails ventilation, fire protection, and plumbing were all inadequate, and temperatures were often stiflingly hot or chillingly cold. Bathrooms and showers were covered in mold and mildew.

Along with the national ACLU office, we filed a class-action federal lawsuit challenging these indecent, cruel and inhumane conditions.  Within months, we successfully negotiated a detailed settlement requiring Canyon County to make major improvements. After more than six years of monitoring, Canyon County completed the court-ordered work and the settlement terminated.


Lea Cooper, Stephen Pevar, Joe Miller, Ritchie Eppink

Date filed

March 11, 2009


United States District Court for the District of Idaho


B. Lynn Winmill



Case number