Family and friends of Idaho inmates recently transferred out of state due to overcrowding issues, gathered on the steps of the statehouse Friday, Feb. 23, urging lawmakers to enact change to bring them home.
“There’s got to be more cost-effective options, rather than sending them out of state,” said protester Denise Tyler.
Tyler, who’s husband is currently incarcerated, started a local support g group five years ago for friends and family of Idaho inmates transferred elsewhere.
“It has grown exponentially in just a short amount of time, thanks to the power of social media,” Tyler said.
It’s a move the Idaho Department of Corrections says is necessary due to the overcrowding issues in state facilities.
“When we don’t have beds in our own system, or if there’s not enough beds in the county jails here in Idaho, we have to move them some place,” said Henry Atencio, IDOC Director.
Atencio says the department acknowledges it’s a difficult situation for many.
“The impact to our inmates, their friends, their family is a big concern for us,” Atencio said.
But perhaps it’s most difficult for the children torn further apart from their fathers.
“Watching them was the hardest because we as adults…we power through it,” said protester Melissa Tapia. “We know how to pull it together enough to go in survival mode…to sit there and be like, ‘we got to do what we got to do,’ as adults. They can’t do that yet.”
Earlier this month, the IDOC announced the transfer of up to 250 Idaho inmates to a correctional facility in Texas.
Those against the move are planning another protest in front the statehouse on Thursday, March 1.