Officials excited about new Idaho approach to incarceration - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Officials excited about new Idaho approach to incarceration

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The five-year goal is a 1 percent drop in the prison population - as opposed to the projected 16 percent increase. The five-year goal is a 1 percent drop in the prison population - as opposed to the projected 16 percent increase.
BOISE, Idaho -

Idaho officials are excited about a sea-change in the state's approach to criminal justice.

The state had one of the highest incarceration rates in the country in 2013, with a prison population that was expected to jump 16 percent over the next five years. The Idaho Statesman reports that officials were considering spending $288 million on a new prison.

Instead, Idaho opted into a national program that analyzed what was driving the state's incarceration problems. It found Idaho could avoid building the costly new prison by beefing up community-based supervision programs for nonviolent offenders.

The five-year goal is a 1 percent drop in the prison population - as opposed to the projected 16 percent increase.

Chief Justice Roger Burdick of the state Supreme Court told lawmakers earlier this month that the new approach is the most important change he's seen in criminal justice in his 40-year legal career.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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