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New Idaho director of Correction to further prison reforms

In this Dec. 14, 2016 photo, Henry Atencio, who has been promoted to the director of the Idaho Department of Corrections following the departure of Kevin Kempf, speaks in Boise, Idaho. (Chris Bronson / Chris Bronson Idaho Press-Tribune)
In this Dec. 14, 2016 photo, Henry Atencio, who has been promoted to the director of the Idaho Department of Corrections following the departure of Kevin Kempf, speaks in Boise, Idaho. (Chris Bronson / Chris Bronson Idaho Press-Tribune)

Kempf left the department to take a new position as the executive director of the Association of State Correctional Administrators. His two years as director have been marked by dramatic changes in Idaho’s correctional system, from reductions in the use of solitary confinement to changes in prison standards and releasing hundreds of nonviolent offenders into parole programs as part of the state’s Justice Reinvestment Act.

The reforms began when Idaho dropped its private prison contractor, Corrections Corporation of America, amid a slew of allegations around staffing and poor prison standards that led inmates at the Idaho Correctional Center, the state’s largest prison, to call it “Gladiator School." Full story. Ruth Brown, Idaho Press Tribune




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Cindy Hval
Cindy Hval is a freelance columnist for the Voices neighborhood sections. Her Front Porch column appears twice a month in the Thursday Voice.