Tuesday, June 3, 2014

IDOC Inmate Walks Away From Eastern Idaho Facility

Posted By on Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 9:13 AM

Law enforcement is on the lookout for an Idaho Department of Correction inmate who walked away from an Eastern Idaho work camp late Monday evening.

Frank Smith, 44, was reported missing from his job as a night shift janitor at the St. Anthony Work Camp just after 10 p.m.

Smith's criminal record includes convictions for illegal possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, and destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence. His full-term release date was set for March 2018, but Smith would have been eligible to be considered for parole in March 2015.

The St. Anthony work camp is designed to give low-risk offenders the opportunity to develop job kills and earn money to offset the costs of their incarceration.

Anyone with information regarding Smith is urged to call local law enforcement.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Department of Correction Investigating Apparent Suicide at Prison

Posted By on Wed, May 14, 2014 at 12:55 PM

The Idaho Department of Correction is investigating the suicide of an inmate at the South Boise Women's Correctional Center—the second successful prison suicide this week.

Janeal Walker, 29, was found May 11, at approximately 11:45 a.m., hanging in her room. Staff attempted to revive her but Walker was pronounced dead the morning of May 14 at a Boise hospital.

Walker had been convicted of three counts of possession of a controlled substance. She would have been eligible for parole Nov. 1, 2014, and her full-term release date would have been Oct. 31, 2021.

The IDOC has asked the Ada County Sheriff's Office to assist in the investigation.

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Monday, May 12, 2014

ACSO Will Assist in Investigation of Idaho Inmate's Apparent Suicide

Posted By on Mon, May 12, 2014 at 9:18 AM

The Ada County Sheriff's Office has been called in to help investigate the apparent suicide of a male inmate at the Idaho State Correctional Institution.

Prison officials reported that they discovered 49-year-old Daniel Peterson hanging in his cell at 10:52 p.m. May 10. ISCI staff said they immediately initiated resuscitation measures, but by the time paramedics arrived on the scene, Peterson was pronounced dead.

Peterson was serving a life sentence but would have become eligible for parole in 2037. His criminal record included convictions for second degree murder, grand theft and robbery in both Ada and Canyon counties.

The Idaho State Correctional Institution is a medium-security men's prison, a part of the Idaho Department of Correction's complex of facilities south of Boise.

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Post: What You Need to Know About Executions

Posted By on Thu, May 1, 2014 at 9:10 AM

Yes, the man who died strapped to a table inside an Oklahoma State Prison on April 29 was a man convicted of a heinous murder, but his own nightmarish death following a botched lethal injection execution continues to spark a national debate about how our nation chooses to legally kill the worst of its people.


This morning's Washington Post, as part of its Post Nation column, published "Everything you need to know about executions in the United States," including the details surrounding capital punishment, how our nation's death-row population breaks down by race, and how the death penalty is being used much, much less in the U.S., in spite of some states, including Idaho, who have chosen to re-start executions.

For example:

-An average of 71.1 executions were carried out each year between 1997 and 2005, yet between 2006 and 2013, that number dropped to 44.3 executions per year.
-18 states have officially abolished capital punishment.
-The current death row population is 41.7 percent black, 43.1 percent white and 12.6 percent Latino.
-Between 1973 and this year, 144 people on death row have been exonerated.
-Three states—Delaware, New Hampshire and Washington—still allow hanging.
-Two states—Oklahoma and Utah—still allow the firing squad.
-Three states—Arizona, Missouri and Wyoming—allow the gas chamber.

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Video: Botched Execution Renews Debate

Posted By on Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 9:24 AM

The national debate over the death penalty has taken on a new urgency in the wake of a botched execution in Oklahoma, where an inmate took more than 45 minutes to die.

A dose of a drug cocktail was administered to Clayton Lockett April 29, but the director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections halted the execution about 20 minutes later, saying there was a vein failure that prevented the chemicals from reaching Lockett's heart. In the meantime, Lockett was writhing, convulsing and shaking uncontrollably according to eyewitnesses.

Lockett was sentenced to death for the shooting death of a 19-year-old girl. Prosecutors said Lockett also stood by as two accomplices buried the girl alive.

Here's how the Oklahoman described part of Lockett's botched execution:

Lockett grimaced and tensed his body several times over a three minute period before the execution was shielded from the press. After being declared unconscious ten minutes into the process, Lockett spoke at three separate moments. The first two were inaudible, however the third time he spoke, Lockett said the word "man."

The Atlantic reports that Oklahoma state officials used untested drugs from a secret source in the incident.

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Prison Head Decries Solitary After 20 Hours of His Own Confinment

Posted By on Sun, Mar 16, 2014 at 3:00 PM

It's not unusual for someone to decry the use of solitary confinement in prisons. It's highly irregular that the criticsim is coming from a prison chief. In fact Rick Raemisch, the man who took over as Colorado's chief of corrections in 2013 after his predecessor was shot to death by a former inmate who had spent years in solitary, went as far as to spend 20 hours of his own in solitary confinement. Raemish was led to the cell in handcuffs and leg shackles so that inmates wouldn't notice that something was up.

In February, Raemisch went to Capitol Hill, to tell a U.S. Senate subcommittee that solitary confinement was "overused, misused and abused."

This morning's New York Times reports that the 60-year-old Raemisch is not the first corrections director to criticize solitary confinement. "In the last two years, an increasing number of states, prodded by lawsuits, lower budgets and public opinion, have been rethinking the policy."

Meanwhile, Brent Reinke, director of Idaho's Department of Correction, continues his personal leave to spend time with his family in the wake of his grandson being charged with first degree murder. Bradley James, 23, is accused of the December 2013 shooting and stabbing death of a Filer man. James is expected to appear in a Twin Falls courtroom on Tuesday, March 18, for a status hearing in his case.

Deputy Director Kevin Kempf is acting as temporary director of IDOC in Reinke's absence.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Female Prisoner Walks Away From IDOC Work Center

Posted By on Fri, Feb 21, 2014 at 9:45 AM

Shirleyanne Fisher, 27, walked away from the East Boise Community Work Center.

The Idaho Department of Correction reported early today that a nonviolent offender had walked away from its East Boise Community Work Center.

Shirleyanne Fisher, 27, is serving a two- to five-year sentence for possession of a controlled substance.

People with information regarding Fisher's whereabouts should contact law enforcement.

Fisher is described as 5-feet, 6-inches tall, 115 pounds and has brown hair and green eyes.

Fisher had been scheduled to be released on Aug. 31, 2014.

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Friday, February 7, 2014

Female Inmate Found Dead at South Boise Women's Correctional Center

Posted By on Fri, Feb 7, 2014 at 11:17 AM

The Idaho Department of Correction reports that a female inmate committed suicide in her cell at the South Boise Women's Correction Center.

Shortly after midnight on Feb. 7, a correctional officer found 53-year-old inmate Darcie Olsen unconscious in her cell. IDOC reports that SBWCC staff immediately initiated resuscitation measures, which paramedics continued upon their arrival but Olsen was pronounced dead at 12:57 a.m. Feb. 7.

Olsen was convicted of two DUI felonies in Blaine County and was eligible for parole this June. Her full-term release date was June 2019.

The Ada County Sheriff's Office has been called in to assist the investigation of the circumstances surrounding Olsen's death.

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Proposed Legislation in Wyoming, Missouri Raises Questions About Capital Punishment

Posted By on Tue, Jan 28, 2014 at 10:21 AM

Wyoming Sen. Bruce Burns has introduced legislation that would permit the state to execute condemned prisoners by firing squad. - ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • Associated Press
  • Wyoming Sen. Bruce Burns has introduced legislation that would permit the state to execute condemned prisoners by firing squad.

Legislators in Wyoming and Missouri have proposed legislation that would allow reinstating some old-school methods of capital punishment, the Associated Press reports.

Republican Sen. Bruce Burns of Wyoming said state law requires that a gas chamber be used in the event that the lethal injection execution method is unavailable, but he doesn't support paying to build a state-run gas chamber in the event that lethal injection drugs are unavailable or ineffective. Instead, Burns has proposed a bill that would allow the state to execute condemned prisoners by firing squad.

"The state of Wyoming doesn't have a gas chamber currently, an operating gas chamber, so the procedure and expense to build one would be impractical to me," he said.

In Missouri, a House bill proposed this month by state Republican Rep. Rick Brattin would also permit the use of firing squads to execute the condemned. 

"This isn't an attempt to time-warp back into the 1850s or the wild, wild West or anything like that. It's just that I foresee a problem, and I'm trying to come up with a solution that will be the most humane yet most economical for our state," Brattin said.

These proposals come at a crucial moment in the ongoing debate over capital punishment. Earlier this month, condemned prisoner Dennis McGuire, who was convicted in Ohio of the 1989 rape and murder of a 22-year-old pregnant woman, took 15 minutes to die by lethal injection at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility. The execution was conducted with a new, untested lethal-injection cocktail, and eyewitnesses said McGuire struggled and gasped in his final moments.

Questions have been raised about the humanity and effectiveness of contemporary methods of capital punishment, and some lawmakers have responded by introducing legislation that would allow states greater latitude in choosing execution methods.

Idaho banned execution by firing squad in 2009. The last execution by firing squad took place in 2010 on Ronnie Lee Gardner in Utah. Currently the only state that accepts the firing squad as a method of execution is Oklahoma but only if lethal injection methods are unavailable. 

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Monday, January 20, 2014

UPDATE: IDOC Escapees Caught

Posted By on Mon, Jan 20, 2014 at 11:56 AM

UPDATE: Jan. 20, 2014 11 a.m.

The Idaho Department of Correction announced Jan. 20 that two men who had escaped from the North Idaho Correctional Institution in Cottonwood on Jan. 18 were back in custody.

The Idaho County Sheriff's Office said Caleb Joe Thomas and Ridge Scott Dains were captured while driving a stolen vehicle near Walla, Walla, Wash.

Thomas and Dains escaped from NICI shortly after midnight on Jan. 18.

The two are being returned to Idaho County, where they face the possibility of new charges related to their escape.

IDOC is conducting a thorough review of the events that led up to the escape.

ORIGINAL POST: Jan. 19, 2014 9 a.m.

Law enforcement throughout the Northwest are on the lookout for two escapees from the North Idaho Correctional Institution in Cottonwood. The men were reported missing early Jan. 18.

The Idaho Department of Correction is looking for 20-year-old Caleb Joe Thomas, a 6-foot-1-inch white male who weighs approximately 186 pounds. He was convicted of first degree arson, destruction of evidence, solicitation to commit perjury and grand theft. Authorities are also looking for 21-year-old Ridge Dains, a 5-foot-1-inch white male who weighs approximately 140 pounds. He was convicted of burglary.

Searchers say they found footprints in the snow outside of the prison, indicating the inmates' escape.

The Idaho County Sheriff's Office said it was possible that the pair was picked up by someone who may be headed toward southern Idaho.

People with information regarding the whereabouts of Thomas and Dains are being asked to contact their local law enforcement agency.

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