March 2, 2021

1/22/2019 – OP-ED by Rep. Rubel – “Idaho must reform its draconian drug sentencing minimums”

  • Article Link: “Idaho must reform its draconian drug sentencing minimums”
  • Excerpt: The bill for Idaho’s failure to seriously address our prison problem is about to come due, and it’s a big one: $500 million. That’s the cost of a proposed state prison expansion. What’s worse is that Idaho will have to issue bonds for the project, which means we’re on the hook for principal and interest.The causes of Idaho’s prison problem are well beyond the scope of this column. However, one of the big factors is the failed war on drugs. Our prisons are bloated with nonviolent drug offenders caught up in mandatory minimum sentences, which have proved to be costly, ineffective and a danger to our communities.

1/21/2019 – Rep. Rubel re-introducing bipartisan legislation to reform mandatory minimum sentencing

Last week, Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Burdick told the Legislature, “the courts realize there are better ways to handle criminality than building bigger jails and prisons.” We also recently learned that Idaho is 3rd in the nation for portion of the population incarcerated or on parole, and a large portion of our imprisoned population is comprised of non-violent drug addicts. Before session, the Dept. of Corrections announced they would need $500 million to build more prison space. Because such an expense would take away from school and road funding, I think we need to take a hard look at our incarceration practices. I plan to re-introduce bipartisan legislation to reform mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenders, which passed the House last year with a large majority but did not get a vote in the Senate. Here’s an article I wrote with my GOP co-sponsor describing the bill. I’ll need help from the public to convince the Senate Chairman to give it a hearing and get it passed. Please respond to this email if you’re willing to help advocate.