I’m one of 250 Idaho inmates being housed in Texas because Idaho is currently overcrowded for what is now the third time in my 13 year stay. We are being told that 500-750 more are to follow. Most say it is the systems push for a new facility to be built (which they DO want) but legistlation doesn’t, and taxpayers shouldn’t.
DOC is the reason that inmates are out of state. Their job is to house us, and supposedly “rehabilitate” us. Ultimately, it’s a struggle between judges and the parole board who aren’t being held accountable by legislation (our lawmakers).
The thing is, a sentence is given by a judge, each judge is a human being that thinks differently, acts differently, and REACTS differently. Everyone has good and bad days, right? I am surrounded by guys that committed the same crime as I did, different circumstances of course, but those with the same or worse circumstances vary in time from 10 years and less, to way more. Point is, there is no method to the madness. The psychology goes deeper than that, of course, but lets not get off track.
After sentencing, its off to prison. I’ve listened to all the stories since I came in 13 years ago. I know how things used to be in regards to Idaho having good time, and inmates being able to prove themselves through the system until they could get to work centers. If they did everything they were suppose to, they were released when the judge felt that they initially should be.
A life sentence use to mean 30 years – where as now, it means forever. Now it does not matter if you are a “model” inmate or not, you are treated the same, and do every day the judge gave you. You cannot prove yourself through the system in any positive direction, and it’s a coin toss on weather or not the parole board will let you out.
See, I have spent 13 years trying to pay my debt to society, and have been denied rehabilitation. I have worked every job you can think of in prison. I’ve rehabilitated myself AND helped others. Yet, I find myself being mistreated by the system in ways that they claim they are trying to promote.
When I go to board after the 20 years that my judge sentenced me, and I paid my debt to the best of my ability, should I be set free, or resentenced? If I did my time the best way that I could, I had proven to not be a threat, and was a “model” inmate, then the ONLY reason I wouldn’t be set free is because of my crime, right? So my judge was what, just a step? Did he want me to do more time than what he gave me? Or did he feel as though when my time is up, that the board should determine if that judge was right 20 years ago? It is a later version of what we call “double jeopardy”.
I spoke with the deputy director of IDOC (second in charge). I was explaining this very thing about the parole board. His response was; “IDOC is not over the parole board.” I responded that legislation IS, and the director is trying to find ways to help the system. If a person is sentenced for their crime, and do their time right (or above and beyond), then their release should be guaranteed on their fixed release date. The parole board should only be used if a person is deemed to be a threat to society. My judge didn’t give me a 20 year sentence so that in 20 years my crime can be re-evaluated. But at that moment, that is exactly what the parole board will do. Perhaps, seeing the parole board should depend on a point system of how a person has paid their debt, not a revisit of their crime.
Most states have good time which promotes inmates to walk a better path. Currently Idaho is one of 6 states in our country that does NOT have good time. It is crazy that the very people (legislation) that are denying good time, are the same people that are over the laws of our parole board and sentencing guidelines of judges. This all comes in to play in our state being one of the highest (per capita) in incarceration. Its not complicated. The crazy part is that Idaho has digressed in the last 30 years as far as its system goes, yet wonders why they have troubles with population control.
Categories: Trevor Booth