Re-entry center not a done deal — or dead, either

Print Article

More information is needed before Kootenai County can determine if itís ready and willing to house the 130-bed halfway house ó more formally called a re-entry center ó for prison inmates transitioning back into society.

The easy answer is to say hell no: If you build it, they will con.

We get that. Common sense suggests that putting a welcome mat out for scores of people who did bad things isnít the fastest route to enhancing public safety or sprucing up the olí neighborhood. But the issue warrants a much closer look, and the answering of key questions.

Among the latter: Who exactly would be sent here? What were their crimes? Where were they when they committed the crimes? The proposal should be DOA if the state corrections department plans to drop non-North Idahoans with records of violence into Kootenai Countyís lap. No deal.

If, on the other hand, the re-entry center houses people from North Idaho who committed non-violent crimes like those involving use of drugs, then further discussion is needed. And hereís why.

Many inmates, upon release, go back to the place they came from. Thatís because family and familiarity are powerful lures. Yes, the lures can be positive or negative, but the fact is, prison populations from our neck of the woods will likely be coming back here with or without transitional help. If they donít get that assistance, the likelihood that theyíll reoffend increases significantly. So assuming theyíre going to be here anyway, would you prefer they simply get dropped on the streets, or that theyíre close to family support and engaged in meaningful work?

Corrections officials say re-entry inmates are supervised 24/7 and must adhere to rules, including curfew. At the stateís four other re-entry centers so far this year, not a single inmate has walked away. The threat of legions of hardened criminals running amok in lax and liberal communities isnít materializing anywhere else in the state, so thereís little reason to believe it would here.

Itís hard to argue against the benefits to society of effective transition programs. While employed, community-release inmates pay child support, restitution, court fees and cost of supervision as well as a 35% surcharge that subsidizes the cost of their time at the center. They also provide community service. Thatís in stark contrast to the average ex-con who just shows up one day.

Until Corrections answers more questions, the $12 million facility should remain in limbo. But when the answers emerge and citizens are asked for their input, there might be more to consider than instinct otherwise suggests.

Print Article

Read More Editorial

Three veterans youíre lucky to meet

November 10, 2019 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press In honor of Veterans Day, weíd like to salute three in particular. The first two are synonymous with service. Agree with him or disagree, the third embodies the courage that made America great and l...

Comments

Read More

Expectations exceed transit hubís purpose

November 08, 2019 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Letís say it all together and then utter it no more: Kootenai Countyís transit hub is exactly what was promised. Are modifications possible? Are they warranted? Thatís up for debate. When county of...

Comments

Read More

Donít believe a political word in Facebook ads

November 06, 2019 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Voters, beware. The social media misinformation assault of 2016 could end up being a mere prelude to whatís coming with the 2020 presidential election. If you vote and you use Facebook, fake news i...

Comments

Read More

ENDORSEMENTS: CdíA voters, keep a good thing going

November 03, 2019 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press For Coeur díAlene residents, Tuesdayís election is more than three choices between seven passionate candidates. Itís a referendum on the State of the City by the Lake. All seven candidates deserve h...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2019 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X