TWIN FALLS — The Idaho Department of Corrections is expanding into the Magic Valley with a new reentry facility. The Twin Falls Community Reentry Center will be the fifth reentry facility in the state, with the other four located in Boise, Nampa, Kuna, and Idaho Falls.
The significance of having this facility in Twin Falls is that it will be the first in the Magic Valley and will allow for those incarcerated to be closer to family and create connections within their communities.
The Community Reentry Center will have 44 rooms with 160 beds and a total staff of 40 with 17 correction officers.
The facility will house low-risk incarcerated men and women that have demonstrated positive behavior while in custody. The vision of the center is to provide a more gradual and smooth transition to normalcy for its occupants that will soon be released.
Brian Underwood, the Division Chief for Probation and Parole, said, "The Idaho Department of Corrections is about changing people's lives because, in the end, that's the long term vision for creating a safer Idaho and having fewer people in the correctional system."
To help these men and women successfully reintegrate back into society, the Department of Corrections has touched base with nearly 20 employers throughout the Magic Valley for job opportunities.
"We're trying to connect them with employers and get them opportunities to work in the community. Be able to make some money, provide for their families, provide for themselves, and also be able to provide for their own reentry in the community when they release," said Josh Tewalt, the Director of Idaho Department of Corrections
Providing job opportunities is the primary focus of this service. The other goal is to help create community routes for these men and women and will be done through community service and working with nonprofits.
"You could name any myriad of places where they could do community service. We provide that, and so not only are we not draining the community for those resources, we're providing actual bodies for service," said Underwood.
Those with the Idaho Department of Correction are hopeful that the local and surrounding communities will have an open mind to this program and will not negatively perceive those incarcerated. "You've got people that are really hungry to prove they're deserving of a second chance. So they're motivated, they're highly skilled and trained, and it's just a great opportunity to provide a motivated workforce," said Tewalt.
Other programs will be provided for those occupants of the facility, such as behavioral health and substance abuse programs, to ensure a stable reentry. "The types of services the residents here are going to receive aren't just the recidivism reduction programs that we offer. It's everything else to help them try to have a firm foundation when they leave our custody to live successful crime-free lives," said Tewalt.
The facility hopes to have occupants within the next few weeks.