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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Michael Gerson: Are we sincere about second chances?

Those of us who participated in the 2000 presidential election are getting political PTSD from the current gubernatorial and senatorial recounts in Florida. President George W. Bush was eventually declared winner in the Sunshine State (and thus the election) by 537 votes out of about 6 million cast. But for 35 long days of counting and challenging and pleading, it was mainly the lawyers in charge. During this period, Bush did a lot of brush clearing on his Crawford, Texas, ranch. The bloody scratches on his arms indicated how his frustration was being unleashed against unlucky cedar trees. I worked on some victory remarks and had a concession speech ready just in case. But eventually, I went to movies during the day. I was too distracted to pay much attention, though I remember seeing the film version of “Charlie’s Angels,” because, well, Lucy Liu.

Washington Supreme Court upholds conviction in guard’s death

The Washington Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the conviction of a Byron Eugene Scherf in the murder of corrections officer Jayme Biendl in 2011. Scherf had been serving life without parole for the murder and rape of a Spokane woman when he attacked Biendl.

Oklahoma prosecutors resist push for prison alternatives

Since the days of frontier justice, lawmakers in conservative Oklahoma have viewed harsh prison sentences as the politically expedient solution to crime. Now, after years of steady debate, there’s growing agreement – even among conservatives – that changes are needed.

Bill Cosby in cuffs: TV star gets 3 to 10 years for sex assault

His Hollywood career and good-guy image in ruins, an 81-year-old Bill Cosby was sentenced Tuesday to three to 10 years behind bars for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman, becoming the first celebrity of the #MeToo era to be sent to prison.

Lawmakers wrestle with prison increases, question policies

Idaho is one of just three states that provides its prison inmates virtually no way to earn time off for good behavior behind bars, and its “compassionate release” program for terminally ill inmates is among the nation’s most restrictive. Those were among the research findings presented to a legislative panel Monday that’s looking for answers to the state’s soaring prison population.

Drug courts and other special courts steer Idahoans away from prison

Ada County’s drug court is one of Idaho’s 71 problem-solving courts, which range from drug courts and DUI courts to mental health courts, veterans treatment courts, and child-protection drug courts, for drug offenders who are trying to reunify with their families. The special courts are targeted at high-need offenders at high risk to reoffend.

Idaho prisons mulling 20 percent budget boost

Top officials with the Idaho Department of Correction are considering telling state lawmakers they need a nearly 20 percent budget increase to fund beds, staff and services for the state’s growing prison population.