Justice reinvestment legislation was enacted in March 2014 and the state is projected to avert between $221 and $288 million in construction and operating costs by FY2019.
In 2012, Idaho’s crime rate was among the lowest in the nation, but recidivism had increased between FY2008 and FY2012. Idaho’s prison population was projected to increase 16 percent between FY2014 and FY2019. From 2013 to 2014, the CSG Justice Center worked with Idaho state leaders to develop data-driven policy options designed to reduce spending on corrections and increase public safety. CSG Justice Center experts analyzed Idaho’s criminal justice data and interviewed stakeholders across the criminal justice system. State policymakers enacted justice reinvestment legislation in 2014. Among other things, the law:
- Strengthens supervision practices and programs designed to reduce recidivism;
- Tailors sanctions for supervision violations, provides recidivism information at sentencing, and structures parole to make more productive use of prison space; and
- Assesses, tracks, and ensures the impact of recidivism-reduction strategies.
Idaho has benefitted from the passage of this legislation in multiple ways:
- IDOC is currently exceeding projections, housing 880 fewer inmates as a result of JRI (around 7,871 inmates). This represents a 3 percent decrease in the prison population between July 2014 and December 2015.
- It is estimated that the state has avoided spending approximately $14 million because of reduced bed needs (not including averted construction costs).
- As a result of these averted costs,
- $1.8 million was returned to Idaho’s General Fund this year;
- IDOC was able to close a unit at the Idaho Correctional Center; and
- All out-of-state inmates will be returned to Idaho by April 2016.
- The Idaho State Legislature invested nearly $6 million to support implementation of JRI efforts over two years (FY2015 and FY2016).
The CSG Justice Center provided technical assistance to Idaho on the implementation of its justice reinvestment policies. In particular, the CSG Justice Center helped Idaho redesign its programming system for people in prison and on supervision, implement swift and certain sanctions, and develop an evidence-based and research driven parole decision-making process.
Publications & Presentations
If implemented, the package of policies outlined in the framework has the potential to generate significant savings in Idaho and estimates a 15-percent reduction in recidivism.
Presentation of strategies and policy options to reduce spending on corrections and increase public safety delivered to the Idaho Justice Reinvestment Working Group on December 11, 2013, at the Idaho State Capitol.