North Idaho

Program houses convicts in North Idaho motels

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - The Idaho State Department of Corrections (DOC) said 98 percent of inmates in the state prisons are released back into the community. Those inmates all have to live somewhere.

One option in north Idaho is for convicts to live in motels. 

The DOC supervises around 1,500 convicted felons in north Idaho. A majority of those people are in Kootenai County. 

Program houses convicts in North Idaho motels

Some of the inmates need help to get back on their feet when released from prison.

"Part of their success is their stability of residence and that's a big factor," said Eric Kiehl with the Probation and Parole department.

Kiehl said the DOC has an understanding with three motels in Coeur d'Alene that are willing to take in offenders.

"It's a place that we can count on. The hotel owners we work with work with us very closely with us," said Kiehl

There are typically two to three offenders at the Garden Hotel on Northwest Boulevard. The State Inn is exclusively for male offenders while women can stay at the Cedar Motel. 

"I think it's cool they are actually helping people out trying to get them back on their feet," said Cedar Motel resident Robert Dahms.

Some business owners and residents wonder if the program will impact property value or safety.

"The people who are under supervision are just that...under supervision. There's restrictions they have curfews for the most part," said Kiehl.

The DOC makes sure the motels are far enough from playgrounds, schools and parks because of sex offenders.

"We haven't had incidents or ordinary citizens that have had a problem with offenders in these hotels," said Kiehl.

The DOC will help pay rent for one month for offenders who qualify.