Idaho’s prison population is growing. Corrections officials want $500 million to build a new prison. Furthermore, it will cost countless millions of dollars to operate this new prison each year.
Does Idaho have a high crime rate? No. Our violent crime rate is the sixth lowest in the nation. Yet our imprisonment rate is the 13th highest in the nation. The national incarceration rate has been decreasing since about 2009, but Idaho’s increases. Why? Two majors reason are long sentences for nonviolent crimes and the lack of drug treatment programs. What can be done? Reduce sentence lengths for nonviolent crimes; particularly drug possession. Reclassify some felonies as misdemeanors. Bring back good-time credits. Implement research-based drug treatment programs. Send fewer parole violators back to prison. Many states have enacted such changes.
Prisons are very expensive. These tax dollars can be used for much more cost-beneficial endeavors such as public education, drug treatment and mental health services. Reducing the number of people in prison can be simple, but these policies must have the support of politicians. Thirty states reduced the number of persons in prison between 2015 and 2016. Idaho can also. Write to your representatives in state government. Some may listen.
Eric L. Jensen, Moscow
What has Trump done to hypnotize congressional Republicans? Why are they so supine? The latest undercover tape of Devin Nunes reveals the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is completely in the corner of Trump. What is it about Trump that has Nunes and his ilk so mesmerized? Was it because Trump was on TV as a celebrity businessman who could pretend to solve problems and make decisions? I don’t get it. It is a spell that needs to be broken. A solution is to vote out all of the weak-minded Republicans who love their celebrity boss.
Irene Smith, Boise
I thank the Idaho Statesman for joining some 300 other papers in rejecting the effort to name the American press as “an enemy of the people” (Aug. 16 edition). I appreciate the hard work done each day by the employees of the Statesman, which supports and protects democracy in Idaho and in our great country.
Rev. David L. Beck, Boise
Cruelty to animals
When humans are making profits off of animals, the animals generally suffer. Chasing, roping and slamming a terrified calf (or a pet dog) to the ground is animal abuse. Using spurs, flank straps and other cruel devices against a bull or a horse (or a pet dog) is animal abuse. I agree with Peggy Mondada’s July 27 letter and Deborah Espen’s Aug. 9 letter. Thank you, Deborah, for your reference to the documentary, “Are Rodeos Culture or Cruelty?” as well as YouTube videos.
Horse racing is also cruel. The horses are bred to run fast rather than to be healthy. When they break one of those unnaturally skinny legs or are otherwise done racing, they are slaughtered. Spectator sports should be limited to human participants.
Sue Brooks, Boise