Idaho enacted comprehensive criminal justice reform legislation (S.B. 1357) in 2014, aimed at improving parole outcomes and safely controlling prison population growth by increasing timely release for people convicted of nonviolent offenses. Our analysis finds that Idaho has met its goal of increasing timely release for people convicted of nonviolent offenses, and this has corresponded with reductions in prison time served. While the parole grant rate has been stable, parole guidelines have increased transparency in release decisions. These reforms have also maintained public safety, with returns to prison and felony reconvictions similar before and after the reforms.
Idaho’s prison population is on the rise once again, and this brief also offers policy options that Idaho could consider to build on the impact of these reforms and safely avoid further prison population growth.