How To Free An Inmate: Free2Succeed May Be Idaho's Last (And Best) Chance To Reduce Recidivism

Aug 27, 2019

On any given week, the news headlines include a deluge of stories on crime on punishment: a criminal act, the arrest of a suspect, a trial, a verdict, a sentence and Idaho's ever-swelling prison system.

Rarely do we witness the actual release of an inmate, or consider the very real chance of his or her ending up back behind bars. But in our series "How to Free an Inmate," we learn of a new effort by the Idaho Department of Correction to improve a parolee's chance of success. That success is hard-fought, mind you, but the Free2Succeed program may be Idaho's last —or best chance at reducing inmate recidivism.

"I'm apprehensive and excited. But after being in one environment for 20 years, in a matter of minutes, you're in another environment."

Mark Person (left) and Bob Hall (right) share their anxieties and hopes when dealing with a new-found freedom.
Credit James Dawson

In part two of our series, "How to Free an Inmate," we revisit with Robert Hall and his Free2Succed mentor Mark Person.

Two  weeks after being relesed from prison for the first time in 20 years, Hall talks about his new-found love for simple pleasures, like the sound of children laughing, wind blowing through the trees or a far-off whistle from a passing train. He also says he's learning to pick his head back up again after decades of being told keep his down while behind bars.

"Hearing people mow the lawn, hearing people laugh, or cars go by, or leaves falling down on you. There's so much to see... things you haven't seen for 20 years." 

Find reporter George Prentice on Twitter @georgepren

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