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Idaho: The Scary State


There may be an upside to all that bad press the Idaho Department of Corrections has received for its affiliation with scary privately run prisons in Texas and elsewhere. As it turns out, our state's penal notoriety might actually help to relieve prison overcrowding by acting as a deterrent—not a crime deterrent, per se, but at least as a deterrent to getting arrested in Idaho.

Dateline: Ontario, Ore., where on October 14, local cops and Malheur County sheriff's deputies pursued Michael Maddox, 42, down East Idaho Avenue and watched as he crossed the Snake River into the Gem State. However, upon crossing the border, Maddox reportedly stopped, turned around and drove back into Oregon, where he peacefully surrendered in a Wal-Mart parking lot. The officer who arrested Maddox for a laundry list of charges—including failure to obey traffic signals, switching license plates, failure to yield to emergency vehicles, eluding police and marijuana possession—told the Argus Observer the suspect told him the reason for his change of heart was that he didn't want to go to jail in Idaho, but in Oregon.