Law Enforcement

Idaho National Guard To Host Inmates

The term “summer camp” means different things to different people. To kids it can be two weeks at the lake swimming, fishing and sitting around the campfire singing songs.

To members of the Idaho National Guard it can be two weeks in the desert south of Boise driving tanks and playing soldier with a rifle. Even the military calls it “war games.”

To a group of about 200 inmates at the Idaho Correctional Institution testing positive for COVID-19, it will mean staying in the National Guard barracks at Orchard, but no rides in the tanks or playing with rifles.

A number of low security-risk inmates have tested positive with the COVID virus, but are asymptomatic. Officials at the Idaho Department of Corrections (IDOC) working to isolate infected inmates decided to “send them to summer camp” at the Idaho National Guard facility.

The “Orchard Training Range” is a modern military base south of Boise (south of the Boise Stage Stop) with tank maintenance facilities and barracks capacity for around 880 part time soldiers. No word regarding whether the barracks have “rooms” or “cells.” With the COVID outbreak, the military facility has been on reduced duty status, so they have plenty of spare bunks.

The GUARDIAN would like to know how long the IDOC “deployment” will last, assuming the inmates will need at least 14 days of quarantine before “demobilizing.”

Repeated attempts to seek comment from both the Idaho National Guard and the Department of Corrections were unsuccessful Monday .

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Concerned Neighbor
    Jul 28, 2020, 10:36 am

    I can see the intention here to reduce infections but execution will be a cluster. Not to mention that most of us aren’t concerned about the prison populations catching a disease… that’s what they get for breaking laws.

    Here’s some ideas to reduce prison problems:
    * Set high expectations in school. Be firm, fair, and consistent. Teachers need to be in control of their classrooms again.
    * Tax paid universal birth control. Legalized abortion in the 70s led to crime dropping in half by the mid-90s. Unwanted babies become criminals.
    * Replace prisons with tents in the desert for low-risk offenders.
    * Make all prison food basic and vegetarian. Oatmeal for breakfast, PB&J for lunch, vegetable/soy stew for dinner.
    * For each book read and 1 page book report written, drop 4 days off sentencing (works in other countries and lowers recidivism). No TV.
    * 6-6-6: 6 days a week do 6 hours education/training/rehab then 6 hours work. Stagger 4 rotating groups per 24 hours. Much of the rehab and education can be automated. On that trend, automate as much as possible. Everyone gets an ankle bracelets and a tablet.

  2. Concerned 4 concerned neighbor…

    Contrary to what you are told or what your pee brain is capable of processing, not all of those prisoners are guilty of “breaking the law”.
    My brother, who is 90% deaf since childhood, was riding his dirtbike and didnt know that an officer was following him for several blocks. He stopped the bike as soon as he ssw the officer and was arrested for felony eluding. His paid attorney didn’t even try to defend my brother. He even helped the officer redact his report instead of calling the jurys attention to the discrepancies between reports and testimony.
    My brother doesn’t deserve to die in prison from contracting the Covid virus (not disease). My brother was born with a rare condition called Sidus inverdus. His organs and insides are complety flipper around and on the opposite side. He pledges allegiance with his hand over his right side. Because of this condition his organs are vulnerable and he is immune deficient. He deserves to have every protection possible to remain healthy.
    I’ve researched dozens of cases and sat through countless courtroom trials and I can tell you that my brother is not the only inmate that has been convicted and sentenced by Prosecutors that seek another notch on their belt as opposed to truth and justice.
    The courtroom is no longer a place of inequity, justice and strict procedure. It has become a playground for prosecutorial misconduct, abuse of power and mockery.
    I am a paralegal and after seeing the coruption in my local courthouse, I dont want ANYTHING to do with our (lack of) justice system anymore. Its broken and you too could wake up a prisoner one day soon and without “breaking the law”.

  3. Okay, so who will be guarding these inmates at the Orchard training facility? I heard from a current employee they are short-handed staff now.

    Is the National Guard going to do this? Is this a part of their training nowadays?

    Will there be adequate meals? Maybe just MREs 3 times a day.

    Sounds like a good solution until the costs add up.

    EDITOR NOTE–We hear the guards will be from IDOC. There are mess hall facilities on site, but where the food will come from and who will cook is not clear.

  4. Casey Jones
    Jul 29, 2020, 2:16 pm

    I understand the intent of your article but to suggest that National Guardsmen “play soldier” is offensive. Over 300,000 soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and many, including my unit, were actively engaged in combat operations. To suggest that the training that takes place is “playing” marginalizes the commitment, impact and rigor necessary to prepare for battle in defense of our country, liberties and way of life.

    EDITOR NOTE–First off, I am an Army veteran of Vietnam.

    You and your fellow soldiers don’t face combat conditions or death at the Orchard Range. The Military itself calls many of the training exercises “WAR GAMES.” Many times they even keep score (as in the Air Force “Red Flag” games each year–often won by Air Guard pilots).

    Those general officers who command the war games are not accused of “marginalizing” their troops. The GUARDIAN would never refer to combat operations in Afghanistan as playing. However when you shoot with what amounts to laser tag devices and assorted computer simulators, we think “playing” is hardly offensive.

  5. Casey Jones
    Aug 4, 2020, 8:40 am


    Using a games metaphor National Guard training exercises is not the same as the term “playing soldier”. No one would ever suggest that active duty soldiers were playing yet it is clearly a pejorative commonly directed at National Guardsmen. As a Vietnam Veteran I’d expect you to know that.

    EDITOR NOTE– Casey and Eastie, I will plead guilty to using the pejorative. As your commander-in-chief said today, “It is what it is.” Some 50 years ago during the Vietnam war the National Guard had far more people wanting to get in than they had jobs (slots)…those guys didn’t want to get drafted and sent to Vietnam. Now you have opened it up to JARHEAD, SWABBIE, FLYBOY, JET JOCKEY, COASTIE, GRUNT, REMF, WEEKEND WARRIOR, 90 DAY WONDER, TUNNEL RAT, S.O.S (breakfast), and many more affectations. Let’s stop now.

  6. thanks for your comment Jamie.
    Agreed. Many people are wrongfully slammed by “the system”.
    Let’s put at the top of that list: low-income people, mentally ill people, disabled, and minorities.

    That is just the beginning of the “black lives matter” issue. The point is- systemic injustice IS happening against segments of our society- in the legal system and otherwise. It is impossible for an informed person to argue against that issue.

    Yet, comments like CN’s ‘don’t care about people’ in prison goes right along with some saying ‘don’t care about innocent people getting killed by cops’. As if SOMEHOW those things are okay and within acceptable American principles. obviously, as long as it is not THEM, the injustice is tolerable for those people. It’s okay elsewhere- until it is right here in Idaho and Boise– eg Jack Yantis and others.
    CNs points are ridiculous. There is ample proof there are many innocent people sitting in prison, or somehow wrongfully convicted of something- by a system with plenty of CN’s (people who are “not concerned” beyond their daily tasks to get a paycheck, whether they be cops, prosecutors, DA’s, probation, bail, or judges). Karma is real though. :-/

    ps on a second read, I agree “playing soldier” is not an appropriate description of military TRAINING.
    Are cops just “PLAYING cops and robbers” at the POST? What would the Chief say of such a slant?

    Last week, 8 marines and a Navy corpsman died in a TRAINING exercise.
    Last October, an AirForce pararescueman died while TRAINING, in Boise’s Black Cliffs.

    From a news source: “Almost twice as many service members are dying during training exercises compared with combat operations, according to a congressional report from 2006 to 2018, including those years, 31.9% of active-duty military deaths were the result of accidents.”

    So the comment in the Editor Note of troops “don’t face combat conditions or death” while training, is erroneous, and insensitive to the truth. Only adding to the validity of CJones’ point.
    Training deaths happen too (everywhere), including live-fire training.
    Plus I’m sure Guard and Reserve do not appreciate such comments from civies or regular vets.
    Go Army!

  7. Hey…at least they are not letting them out into the streets to kill and rob like the governments of Commiefornia and other Blue states.

    The death and mayhem stacking up in those hell holes will serve as a huge warning to future communities (let’s hope there still are any) about the absolute horrifying policies playing out in KOOKOO land run by DemoRats….it’s totally outrageous.

  8. With the mostest
    Aug 14, 2020, 8:02 am

    I’m not so sure the proper sentiment is to host. That implies hospitality. To guard and enforce the law on the convicted is more to my way of thinking.

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