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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Justice reinvestment goal: Fewer prisoners, fewer repeat offenders

Over the weekend, the Idaho Statesman took a look at Idaho’s justice reinvestment project, which is aimed at transforming the state’s criminal justice system to reserve prison cell space for the most dangerous offenders, while working to reduce the state’s “revolving door” of recidivism, in which repeat offenders continually return to the system. The five-year goal of the effort, which won unanimous support from the Legislature last year, is a 15 percent reduction in recidivism and a 1 percent drop in the prison population, Statesman reporter Bill Dentzer writes,  as opposed to the projected 16 percent increase; another goal is no reduction in public safety.

"It costs us a little under $4 a day to supervise someone in the community compared to $57 a day in one of our prisons," Kevin Kempf, Idaho Department of Correction director, told Dentzer. "These inmates are coming out of the prison system. Keeping them locked up forever is not reality. Once you understand that, what type of inmate do you want as your neighbor? We inherently believe let's focus resources towards trying to do something with that inmate, that offender, to have them be a better neighbor, arm them with some tools so they can think differently than we first found them." The Statesman’s full report is online here.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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