Harley Brown on Idaho’s prison challenges

Where the candidates stand

April 6, 2014 

Harley Brown

When I was in the Joint* in 1992, first-hand experiences formed my opinion that the Idaho Department of Correction was a super squared-away outfit run by highly professional executives and staff. I was very impressed, but nevertheless, when my release date finally arrived, I was overjoyed to finally get the hell out of there. Trust me, freedom, like air, becomes much more precious and appreciated after you've suffered its loss.

Ask any Marine: By far the toughest part of amphibious invasions is at the sea/shore interface - the transition from sea-based operations to land-based ops. This principle holds true for any organization, from families moving into new homes to businesses relocating. You are most vulnerable and your weapon systems are not yet fully operational.

For the transfer of management mission, central command and control is critical. My personal preference would be a male retired U.S. military senior officer to plan each specific item in the project execution plan, develop a dependency diagram and a timetable. Run it tight like a moon mission. Communication is essential to success. The commander may handpick his staff for the transition mission.

I prefer the title of "commander" to that of mere manager.

Justice reinvestments, i.e., programs to prevent re-offenders, are OK and beneficial expenditure of resources that I support. Note: Zebras don't change their stripes. I know changing villains from the inside is the only true way to permanent transformation, and that's the Holy Spirit's job, not the government's.

Note: Sad but true: A great many of the Christian churches in America are ignorant and bogged down in demonic religious tradition and they can't see it.

It is my understanding that eight inmates have filed a lawsuit against the Corrections Corp. of America alleging inadequate protection when they were attacked and beaten by a prison gang. Now the federal prosecutor does not wish to grant any requested delays in her criminal case to accommodate the change in command at IDOC. I say this is typical "growing pains" of the aggravated interface from one unit to another, and while I hesitate to speculate on the details, I'll bet my 60 years of living to say not to be overly concerned - these things have a way of working themselves out - and surprisingly usually fairly favorably to all parties. Do forgive me if the above may sound like a cop-out: I really don't go in for double-talk.

"Take the best and leave the rest" - get lots of diverse opinions from prison people at all levels and see what works at 49 other state corrections departments. I support plagiarism and copy-cat operations. Why reinvent the wheel?

* My nonviolent felony, not related to drugs, was subsequently reduced to a misdemeanor. My civil rights were all restored, my firearms were returned, and now I can even run for president. God bless America!

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