Prison health

VANCOUVER, Wash. — The Larch Corrections Center near Yacolt is testing how pet cats may soften the behavior of hardened criminals.

Two cats were given to inmates in two cells at the minimum-security prison.

A new report says Idaho’s largest prison provides such substandard health care to inmates that in some cases it may have resulted in death. A federal judge unsealed an expert’s opinion in a decades-long case Monday. In it, Dr. Marc Stern details a range of problems at the Idaho State Correctional Institution near Boise.

He says patients there face cruel and unusual treatment. One inmate wasn’t told he had cancer for months. Another bed-ridden inmate wasn’t fed. And Stern said an emergency ventilator that should be used often was caked in dust.