Two 18-year-old inmates at the North Idaho Correctional Institution escaped last night by climbing over a fence, but were recaptured this morning. Both were serving time for grand theft; both had just recently arrived at the Cottonwood facility for “riders,” or retained jurisdiction sentences. That’s when a judge sentences an offender to a relatively short term of intensive treatment and evaluation at Cottonwood, and if they succeed, they can get out on probation rather than serve out their full prison terms. Both, obviously, have now failed. They were Scott Michael Hernandez, who was convicted in Kootenai County, and Cody Robert Nesland, who was convicted in Ada County.
“The sad part is both offenders were 18 years old,” state prison official Pam Sonnen told the Board of Correction this morning, which was meeting as the escapees were recaptured and got the news right away. One had only been at Cottonwood for two days, the other for two weeks. “So those young boys will be looking at some pretty serious time now,” Sonnen said. “But everybody’s safe.”