Crime and Punishment 

Prisons, police overseers and Chief Bill Bones

This is the "crime and punishment" edition of Boise Weekly. Through a series of coincidences, we found a fair bit of our coverage this week hinging on cops, courts and prisons.

Boise Weekly News Editor George Prentice continues reporting on the growing scandal surrounding Idaho prison officials' handling—or, according to some, mishandling—of inmates' medical records.

The story has been floating in the ether for months, with hints appearing in the news in February and references to untoward dealings in the steady stream of letters flowing into BWHQ from prisoners at the Idaho State Correctional Institution.

Controversy isn't new to Idaho prisons, but this most recent round of allegations—that high ranking members of the Idaho Department of Correction systematically altered and/or destroyed prisoner records in order to skirt court-ordered investigations—threaten to spread to higher and higher levels of government.

Where it will stop, nobody knows, but it starts with a hearing in federal court on Wednesday, July 22. Read Prentice's report for a glimpse of who knew what and when they knew it.

Elsewhere, staff writer Harrison Berry provides an update on the continuing effort to ensure civilian oversight of the Boise Police Department. It has been two years—to the month—since longtime former Boise Community Ombudsman Pierce Murphy left for a similar job in Seattle, but his office still hasn't been officially filled. An interim, part-time ombudsman retired in April, and now a staffer is keeping the seat warm. Meanwhile, the Boise City Council voted July 7 to change the department name to the Office of Police Oversight and limit the job to part-time. Berry checks in with the ACLU, Murphy and his former interim replacement to find out what that means.

Finally, we're devoting almost three pages to a wide-ranging conversation with BPD Chief William "Bill" Bones, who took the department's reins from former Chief Mike Masterson at the beginning of the year. Talking with Prentice, Bones covers everything from use-of-force and body cameras, to diversity on the force and policing in the 21st century.

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