Idaho Media Coverage

In the Media

Cost of Incarceration Rising in Idaho

Over the last 35 years, Idaho’s imprisonment rate increased five-fold, making it the state with the 13th highest incarceration rate in the nation and outpacing all six neighboring states, according to a new report from the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy.

Idaho Lawmakers Search for Ways to Reduce Prison Population

A growing prison population had some Idaho lawmakers taking a second look Monday at recommendations to reclassify some felonies as misdemeanors and increasing efforts to prevent people from going to prison in the first place.

Facing Rising Corrections Costs, States Are Course Correcting

To create a better understanding of recent crime and criminal justice population trends both nationally and at the state level, the CSG Justice Center hosted the 50-State Summit on Public Safety in November 2017 in partnership with the Association of State Correctional Administrators, or ASCA. The summit came at a time when public safety officials and crime data are telling a complex story

Justice Reinvestment Act Worth a Closer Look

The state Department of Correction projects to turn back $3.7 million of its budget to the state coffers in the next fiscal year. Let’s throw a party and celebrate. Give the department an award for keeping a watch on state spending. Send letters congratulating these folks for a job well done.

Burdick Delineates Court Issues for Lawmakers

Idaho lawmakers were challenged by Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Burdick today to consider whether they want to continue the state’s policy of having at least one magistrate judge in each county that wants one, even as the population continues to concentrate in Ada, Canyon, Kootenai, Bonneville, Bannock and Twin Falls counties; the policy’s been in place since 1969.

Crisis Centers, Mental Health…

Gov. Butch Otter is calling for $1.5 million next year to pay the remaining costs of starting up new mental health crisis centers in Twin Falls and Boise, joining those already established in Idaho Falls and Coeur d’Alene. “They are providing significant savings on law enforcement responses and hospital costs, and already have become critical parts of local systems of care,” he said.

Idaho On Parole

States like Idaho are under pressure to capitalize on the promises of Justice Reinvestment—namely, cost savings and reduced rates of re-offense—by better helping offenders overcome the many challenges they face when they reenter their communities. Yet offender success depends on both personal variables and environmental factors determined by complex public policy, usually administered by agencies that are not focused on correctional outcomes.

Twin Falls (ID) Crisis Center Opens Amid Stressful Holiday Season

The center is one of several that have cropped up across the Gem State in recent years, as legislators have directed state and justice reinvestment grant dollars to open and staff them. Other facilities are in Idaho Falls and Coeur d’Alene.

Idaho Prison Rehabilitation Program Gets an Overhaul

Ashley Dowell, Department of Correction’s Division of Prisons deputy chief, said in the past judges could sentence offenders to a 90-day, 120-day, nine-month or yearlong rehabilitation program. “Their (The Council of State Governments Justice Center) findings (on) our old programs was that they were complex and confusing and needed to be modernized,” Dowell said.

Idaho Moved Away from Private Prison in 2014

The federal government’s announcement this month to phase out the use of private prisons has sparked a national debate on the privatization of prisons.

It also comes on the heels of a series of changes made by the Idaho Department of Correction in the last two years, in part due to the state’s takeover of the Idaho State Correctional Center from a private company.

Idaho moved away from private prison in 2014

The federal government’s announcement this month to phase out the use of private prisons has sparked a national debate on the privatization of prisons. It also comes on the heels of a series of changes made by the Idaho Department of Correction in the last two years, in part due to the state’s takeover of the Idaho State Correctional Center from a private company.

To Save on Prison Costs, Idaho Seeks to Change How Inmates Think

Idaho Department of Corrections rolled out its revamped rider program at four Idaho prisons this spring. The program now requires more in-class practice for new learned skills. It requires role playing for situations that could put inmates at risk to commit new crimes. It’s a military-like regimen. Inmates say changing their criminal and addictive thinking is difficult work.

Idaho Banks on Therapy-Based Treatment Reducing Recidivism

The Idaho Department of Corrections is overhauling its recidivism reduction programs in prison, probation and parole, including the Retained Jurisdiction Program. For an inmate whose judge retains jurisdiction for 365 days while he or she attends the program, the streamlining will mean fewer program components and a shift from a lot of written coursework—with much of it done outside the classroom—to more work in the classroom, including role-playing and skill practice sessions.

Idaho Prison Reforms Could ‘Overhaul System’

“An assessment of our programs found that in nine out of 12 of our programs—including our sex offender program, substance abuse program and cognitive behavior program—they did not have a sufficient amount of evidence that they work,” said Kevin Kempf, director of the Idaho Department of Correction.

Now That Legislature Has Approved Prison Reform, What Comes Next in Implementing It?

As Idaho officials have begun considering the implementation of the state’s sweeping new prison reform law passed by the Legislature, two key state agencies are taking a hard look at current usages of some very specific government services. Additionally, policy experts from a national nonprofit group that advised the Legislature on the undertaking of the reforms are working with the state to aid in its implementation.

Idaho Ready for Criminal Justice Reform

In years past, some saw criminal justice reform in Idaho as a political hot potato, but the issue has recently become a priority, giving policymakers an opportunity to harvest gains for both public safety and taxpayers.

Justice Reinvestment Bill Introduced

Legislation to take the first step in Idaho’s justice reinvestment project was introduced this afternoon in the Senate Judiciary Committee; it could be up for a hearing next week.

Justice Reform Committee: Change Probation System

A committee of lawmakers charged with finding ways to reduce the state’s growing prison population presented several potential policy changes to their colleagues Thursday, focusing on keeping probationers and parolees from repeating their criminal behavior.

We Must Change Approach to Criminal Justice

Keeping our communities safe and government spending in check are top priorities for those of us serving you in the Legislature. It can be a challenge to reach the right balance.

Justice Reinvestment Interim Committee Unanimously Backs Plan

A legislative interim committee has unanimously endorsed a report calling for reforms to Idaho’s criminal justice system designed to address costly flaws in the system that are contributing to extra-long stays behind bars for non-violent offenders and for probation and parole violators.

Otter: Criminal Justice Reform ‘The Right Thing to Do’

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter closed out his talk to reporters at the AP Legislative Preview this morning by inviting up Senate Judiciary Chairwoman Patti Anne Lodge and House Judiciary Chairman Rich Wills to talk about the state’s criminal justice reinvestment project.

Idaho reoffender rate high, study shows

After seven months of intensive study of Idaho’s criminal justice system, researchers have found some surprising trends underlying Idaho’s high incarceration rate despite its low crime rate: More than 40 percent of Idaho’s prison beds are being taken up by offenders who initially were released on probation or parole.

Idaho lawmakers looking to cut repeat crime

Research shows putting low-risk criminal offenders through treatment programs makes some more likely to commit further crimes, an expert in reducing rates of repeat criminal behavior told a committee of Idaho lawmakers on Wednesday.

Study: Idaho prisons swelling with returned parolees, probationers

After seven months of intensive study of Idaho’s criminal justice system, researchers from the Center for Justice and the Pew Charitable Trusts have found some surprising trends underlying Idaho’s high incarceration rate but low and dropping crime rate: More than 40 percent of Idaho’s prison beds are being taken up by returned probationers and parolees.

Federal rules won’t change Idaho drug prosecutions

Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent move to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for low-level, nonviolent drug dealers is already the standard approach in Idaho, U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson said.

Justice Reinvestment group has plenty to consider

Idaho’s prisons are full and getting fuller, and about half of those behind bars are repeat offenders. Now a group of lawmakers is hoping to arrest the trend using research, recommendations from criminal justice experts and smart policy changes.

Governor Otter Announces Launch of Public Safety Initiative

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter joined other State leaders today in kicking off an effort to reduce the growth of Idaho’s prison population using “Justice Reinvestment” – a comprehensive, data-driven approach to developing and implementing new policies to control spending and improve public safety.