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Family of slain Hawaii inmate sues state and Arizona prison

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 2:17 p.m. HST, Feb 15, 2012

The family of Hawaii man killed by fellow inmates at a privately operated prison in Arizona in 2010 today sued Corrections Corporation of America and the state of Hawaii, which contracted with CCA to house prisoners.

Bronson Nunuha, 26, was fatally stabbed and beaten on Feb. 18, 2010 at Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Ariz.

"The suit exposes CCA's business model of grossly short-staffing prisons and cutting corners in every way possible to make its private prisons profitable. These systemic practices violated fundamental safety requirements and subjected Hawaii prisoners to rampant gang violence in under-staffed prison units," said a joint statement by the Human Rights Defense Center, American Civil Liberties Union and attorney Kenneth Walczak.

Nunuha was serving a five-year sentence for burglary and property damage, the statement said.

Nunuha was placed in the prison's "Special Housing Incentive Program," the statement said. The program places rival gang members and non-gang members in the same unit,  where they shared recreation time and sometimes the same cell. Only one CCA employee was present to oversee about 50 prisoners in the unit where Nunuha was housed, the statement said.

CCA staff denied Nunuha's request to be removed from the unit, the statement said.

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