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Monday, May 14, 2012

Jail Bluster in Canyon County

"In 1998 the USA surpassed the former Soviet Union and won the crown as the globe’s foremost jailer with an incarceration rate of approximately 690 prisoners per 100,000 citizens. By comparison, that is almost 6 times Canada’s incarceration rate (115), over 12 times Greece’s rate (55), 19 times Japan’s rate (37) and 29 times India’s rate of 24 prisoners per 100,000 citizens.

Most Americans have turned a blind eye to the growth of what economists now refer to as "the Prison Industrial Complex." We know prisons are being built, but politicians and news anchors assure us that prisons are being build for prisoners, for bad people, for scumbags, not for us. It’s not our concern. At these epidemic levels of incarceration, however, we need to picture ourselves in prison, because the industry’s drive to build and fill cells is insatiable. We need to picture ourselves toiling to pay taxes to support these prisons at the expense of cuts in education and most social programs we hold dear."  (by Prof. Michael I. Niman. Prof. of Journalism at Buffalo State College)

Citizens of Canyon County have had a constant barrage of all the dire consequences of not building a new jail since the first bond election for $72.5 Million failed along with subsequent efforts and millions requested.  All this despite the fact crime rates in Canyon County as well as the entire country continue to drop.

Like it or not, we are entering a phase of NO to Very Slow Growth and with that there will be less tax dollars to fund the never ending thirst for more and more money from taxpayers.  Government at all levels will be forced to be smarter and smarter about where precious tax dollars are spent.  Keeping low level, non-violent people in jails and prisons is not very smart.

On a national average basis Canyon County has more jail beds than the national average. The proponents of more jail space point to the numbers of citizens in alternative sentencing programs other than jail or prison.  As citizens and taxpayers we should all be applauding this move.  Putting the right people in jails and prisons needs to be a priority. Nobody wants dangerous people on the street but past practice incarceration efforts and associated costs are not sustainable.

The United States now has about 760 people in jails and prisons per 100,000 of population.  The closest country behind the USA is Great Britain with about 150 people per 100,000 of population.  And get this the coppers over there are unarmed. (Incarceration Nation by Fareed Zakaria)

Idaho is going to have to build a new prison at a cost of over $220 Million and another $37 Million a year to operate the place. A private prison contractor has offered to build the prison with a guarantee the State of Idaho will guarantee to keep the place 90% full for the next 20 years.  All of this at taxpayer expense.  Prison reform needs to happen in a hurry to avoid this unnecessary cost to all of us.


  1. I'm curious what suggestions there are for options to incarserating people who refuse to live in a civilized manner? There is a large segment of our population who feel they donot have to follow the rules and from some recent observations our younger citizens seem to be getting worse in this area.What else do you do with someone who has multiple DWIs and continues to drive drunk. Perhaps if our prisons and jails were less pleasent these people would have less intrest in going there.

    1. It is my observatiion people end up in jail for things that would never led to incarceration 30 years ago.

      Juvenile data says we have 30 of them incarcerated in a facility built for 90 juvenile offenders. There are about 400 juveniles on probation down from a high of around 700 not too long ago.

      It will be interesting to note if this trend carries forward to the adult jail and prison populations.

  2. How many beds per 100,000 people does Canyon County have? Ada, Owyheee, Gem, Payette? I would be interested to know how they stack up to surrounding counties. I would also like to know how many prisoners they have total and what percentage of them are enrolled in alternatives and what percentage are actually jailed. Lastly I would like to know what you mean by petty criminals. If you say 20% should not be there I would like to know what constitutes a petty criminal who shouldn't be in jail. I checked the jail roster and I did not see more than half a dozen who I might question shouldn't be there. I did not see a jail full of DWP and Possession of Marijuana charges like you are saying. You need to get some current data I think.

    1. There are 189k people in Canyon county and the total jail beds including the main jail, tent,and juvenile bed count comes to 465 beds as an estimate. The math works out to be 465 divided by 1.89 and this equals 246 beds per 100k of population.

      We have 1.6MM in the state and a prison population of around 9,000 or it is headed in that direction. 9,000 divided by 16 comes to 562 per 100k of population.

      Combined total comes to 562 (state) and 246 (Canyon County) comes to 808 people per 100K of population in jail or prison.

      If anyone has better numbers please let me know.

  3. I just had to delete a comment submitted by a reader who found things in Canyon County Courts, Judges, The County Prosecutor along with the Nampa PD not to his liking.

    I hate having to delete comments but crossing the line into the area of libel and slander is something I really do not wish to explore.

  4. It is not libel and slander if it is truthful, and it is.

  5. I tip my hat to the voters in Canyon County who denied the passage of the jail bond issue!

    First of all, the corrupt machinery that was proposing this issue included a number of developers, business owners, real estate owners, employees and participants in the criminal justice system, and others. Many, if not most of these proponents, including prosecutors, police, sheriff's offices, court official, etc., would directly or indirectly benefit monetarily from the passage of the bond and building of the facility.

    Paul, the point I believe that you are making above is that we are an incarceration nation. And yes, we are. And please, take the next few steps and ask yourself: what are some of the key drivers and factors and circumstances in this?

    And further, do you and others really believe that if the jail bond issue had passed and the facility built, would not the "law enforcement machinery" in Nampa and Canyon County have the new facility filled up with "dangerous criminals" licketty split? I have no doubt that the police, court officials, prosecutors, judges, and others could and would fill the thing up promptly, and very soon, you would need another one.

    Why do I believe the above? And why am I so cynical? I have firsthand knowledge and experience that your law enforcement machinery in Nampa and Canyon County is corrupt. I can name names, give dates, give facts, and provide proof.

    Further, if you and others have the determination and stones to do so, just look at some of the statistics posted on the CCPA website. If you look at these statistics, and do not begin to scratch your head a lot, then you must be living under a very big rock!!

  6. Too many courtrooms, too many judges, too many petty arrests and we have now reached a tipping point in our abililty to pay for all this nonsenical justice. If we built a new jail we would not have the money to operate it nor could we service the bond debt. My cure for all this is to make more of what is a misdemeanor an infraction. Too many people get "criminal records" for some really silly reasons.

  7. Reply to interested citizen

    If you truely have all this information I would suggest that you contact the State Attorney General , The Department of Justice or maybe the FBI and make them aware of what you say is takeing place. If not than you are just blowing smoke and I will give you the creadence you are due.

  8. Anonymous, yes, you make very good points!

    There are many functioning alcoholics, for just one example, who have jobs, families, go to church, pay taxes, drive without incident, and perform many other functions. Yes, they have a problem. But, it is foolhardy and harmful, and very expensive for society, to criminalize this, as well as minor drug matters.

    But, make no mistake: Your law enforcement machinery over there in Canyon County and Nampa, as well as in a lot of other places, is intent on getting criminal charges on too many peoples' records. This is inane, insane, and counterproductive, to say the least.

    It is so bad that I, as an innocent citizen in Ada County was falsely accused, arrested without notice and without probable cause, jailed for four days, and wrongfully prosecuted for almost five months while the nitwitted prosecutors were completely incapable of even presenting a case! And Paul, do not for one second even attempt to defend the present CCPA, Bryan Taylor, because he is part of the problem and not part of the solution! He was the Nampa unit chief in charge of prosecuting me, on baseless and false charges!! And it was not a DUI or anything like that, but I was

    So, in short, I have little use for Taylor, Bever, Christensen, Greg Hurd, or Magistrate Judge Jerold Lee. Not a one of these individuals will do the right thing unless forced to by someone else in a court of law. And, we all know that Bryan Taylor will not prosecute himself or his cronies. So, it must be left to other means, such as the racketeering statutes, the spineless Idaho Attorney General, the Feds, or someone else with authority to do so. Taylor will not.

    1. Yes, I would like to verify all your allegations as fact but you seem to be very vague for some reason. You sound more like a disgruntled criminal than a honest citizen. Present the facts and let us decide. Or are you afraid we migt see through the BS you are slinging?

  9. Maybe an in depth investigation into these other nations that have low incarceration rates and that have cultures similar to ours might bear some fruit.
    What is it we are doing so wrong and/or are they doing so right that makes such a difference? If you say drugs are our problem then why are they not the problem elsewhere. Two losers of the first order broke into a building I own, twice, and stole a couple thousands dollars worth of stuff, broke a door off its hinges getting in the first time, and cutting a heavy chain the second time. They got caught by the police a few days later using the same skills. I want to see them ROT IN JAIL, so am I part of this problem. I checked these guys histories and the only thing I am certain of is eventually more crimes are in their future. The answers to the above question are not simple, but I suspect within a generation a new enlightened policy will emerge or we will all be broke or criminals.

    1. If you look at the data, all this started with the War on Drugs implimented by the Nixon Administration. We have spent nearly a Trillion dollars (1,000 Billion) and the question I have asked myself over and over is: Are drugs more or less plentiful; Are they less potent or more potent today than they were were 40 years ago?

      I like Ron Paul's assessment on legalizing drugs.. "if drugs were legalized today, how many people would rush out and buy them?" It is a complex sociatal problem but what we have been doing is costly and ineffective. Roughly 12,000 people a year die from drug related problems, about 85,000 die each year from alcohol related problems in a nation of over 300,000,000 people. We can't save everyone from themselves. Everyone has a right to be a failure in life but how do we contain the costs to taxpayers.

  10. I have spoken of the law enforcement machinery in Canyon County, and similar systems are firmly in place elsewhere. And, it is very much like organized crime, and will properly be prosecuted as racketeering either civilly or criminally, and in some cases both.

    After all, why do you think that the police scratch the prosecutors' backs, the prosecutors scratch the judges' backs, the judges make life extremely difficult for any defendant whether the case is good or poor, the judges condone prosecutorial misconduct, the prosecutors write up charges on police reports that are shoddy and lack merit and any basis in fact, the court officials scratch the prosecutors' backs, and it goes around, and around, and around. And, if you do not believe that innocent people sometimes get limbs torn off by this corrupt and nefarious system, then you are living under a very large rock.

    And further, this corrupt system generates an enormous amount of money in salaries and bennies for the participants. After all, I believe that the magistrate judges in the Nampa Annex make something like $110,000 or so, plus juicy benefits. And some of these numbskulls cannot make it in the private sector because they are too corrupt, too lazy, and too stupid.

    And, the same goes for the police and the prosecutors. Many of the Nampa PD inept and bumbling officers make well over $60K or even over $100K to write up inept and incompetent reports that a child could blow holes through! When Augsburger was shown the door, he was making well over $100K! This is all public information, and is factual.

    My experience with the prosecutors has confirmed to me and others that the Nampa and CCPA prosecutors cannot keep pretrial dates, would not know "probable cause" if it bit them in the hind end, participate in prosecutorial misconduct, commit unethical acts commonly, etc. And, you are paying for all of this!

    But, there is Karma!! For example, Canyon County has lost many good employers over the last several years, and it could not happen to a nicer bunch of bumbling clowns.

    And, if you were an employer in Canyon County, would you tolerate the CCPA suing you for racketeering acts? But, Canyon County has sued Syngenta and a handful of other good employers for racketeering. And, make no mistake, it is catching up to the knuckleheads. What a bunch of creeps!

    As for the Bujak fiasco, there again, there is Karma!! There was good old Bujak pumping and pimping for the jail bond issue in an orange jumpsuit that he better get ready to have cleaned and pressed for more service. And, this numbskull was the CCPA when they were wrongfully prosecuting me for stalking in the second degree, while I can prove unequivocally that I was not within 100 miles of where they said I was. But, they are too stupid to get out of their own way!

    And, this could very well end up costing the citizens of Nampa and Canyon County many $$$$Millions in civil racketeering damages, costs, and attorneys' fees. So, you citizens will end up paying the piper for these nitwits that you elect and hire into public office and law enforcement positions.

    And, to reemphasize: Even though you may believe that you got rid of the problem when you got rid of Bujak, think again. The present CCPA in Bryan Taylor was the Nampa unit chief who wrongfully prosecuted me. And, he will avoid at all costs doing the right thing until he is forced to do the right thing by a court of law. So, in short, the integrity and transparency that he likes to talk about is nothing more than that: just talk. Because he does not know what integrity is.

  11. So 2.46 for Canyon County per thousand.
    and 4.0 for Owyhee per thousand
    and 3.8 for Ada.

    They need more beds. We just can't afford them.
    The current space is being used correctly by current law.
    However, decriminalizing certain behaviors would certainly reduce demand for bed space. Interested Citizen obviously has an axe to grind and certainly wants to blame the entire criminal justice system for his woes. I don't think for one second the cops go out of their way to criminalize every behavior they see just to keep our jails full. We have enough criminals already. They don't need to invent more. What I do believe though is we have an antiquated way of dealing with these behaviors and rely on incarceration too heavily. While this removes the offender from society in the short term it does nothing to rehabilitate him. We do need more the future, and after we have found some other ways to deal with these problems before using it as our last resort.

  12. Geraldine says...

    Here's a novel approach to the jail issue... Charge for incarceration by zip codes. Each city is assessed the cost of incarceration of each person held in jail prior to court and sentencing. This might give pause to simply locking people up because they can. I would tend to think there might be a whole lot more cite and release for non violent offenders if the meter was running on each city prior to sentencing. If the judge remands the individual to jail prior to sentencing then the costs come from the justice fund. Once sentenced then it becomes the responsibility of the county taxpayers. User pays is not something new.

    I firmly believe in the Constitution and everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Badge heavy cops would have to think twice before not using the state mandated cite and release preference as stated in the Idaho Code. People who are violent offenders would not get this consideration and would go straight to jail but the costing factor would not change with respect to user pays for incarceration decisions prior to someone being found guilty in a court of law.

    1. If they charged them that way Geraldine, Nampa's meter would spin so fast you could use it for a fan!

  13. Thanks to everyone for their comments but it is time to close out this post for further comments.



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