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Articles by Jayson Hawkins

$525,000 Settlement in Minnesota Jail Excessive Force Incident

by Jayson Hawkins

"Please don’t kill me. Please don’t kill me.”

Terrell Isaiah Wilson, 24, could be heard pleading for his life on video footage shot on April 13, 2016 at the Ramsey County jail in St, Paul, Minnesota. After being arrested for the theft of two cell phones, Wilson ...

Survey: Jail Population Down but Incarceration Rates Higher for Whites, Women

by Jayson Hawkins

In April 2019 the U.S. Department of Justice released an analysis of its Annual Survey of Jails, which has tracked jail capacities, populations and demographics since 1982. The most recent year for which data was available, 2017, found the overall jail incarceration rate had dropped 12 percent ...

Rider Programs in Idaho Offer Prisoners a Second Chance

by Jayson Hawkins 

Overcrowded prison populations across the nation have forced states to seek alternatives to incarceration. One solution being used in Idaho is intensive rehabilitative programs called “riders” that can take the place of prison sentences. 

About one out of six Idaho prisoners are selected for rider programs, the vast majority of whom have been convicted of non­violent and/or drug-related crimes. The programs are designed to help participants overcome problems such as aggressive behavior, sexual misconduct and substance abuse. After completing the programs, they are placed on probation for the remainder of their sentences.

“It offers people an out,” said Idaho Department of Correction chief of staff Bree Derrick. “There’s an off-ramp to get back on to probation.”

Prisoners involved in riders are kept apart from the general prison population, but the programs still take place behind bars. A typical day for participants lasts from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and includes six hours in a classroom plus counseling, group sessions or other forms of treatment. The classes are intended to improve assessment skills in handling common situations. In one exercise, participants are given flashcards with different scenarios and discuss the best way to react. 

Idaho ...