After strong support from sheriffs, prosecutors, the courts and more, and lots of questions from lawmakers, the justice reinvestment bill, SB 1357, has won unanimous support from the Senate Judiciary Committee and is headed to the full Senate. The bill, which grew out of a study by the Council of State Governments' Justice Center and the Pew Trusts, is aimed at reducing Idaho's high incarceration and recidivism rates, while maintaining its low crime rates; it includes reforms to probation and parole supervision, more investment in treatment, and other changes. The study found that Idaho keeps non-violent offenders behind bars for twice as long as the rest of the country; by investing in these changes, the hope is to reserve prison space for the most dangerous offenders and help push the less dangerous ones to reform and not reoffend - and save millions by not having to build a new state prison.
There's more information online here.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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