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BOISE -- A group of Idaho lawmakers will spend the next several months researching ways to reduce crime and prison costs with the help of the Council of State Governments and other organizations.

Gov. C.L. Butch Otter announced the Justice Reinvestment project on Tuesday, saying he wants the state to figure out how to do a better job of keeping people out of prison without spending more money.

Numbers from the Council of State Governments show Idaho has a higher percentage of people on probation or parole than surrounding states, and the number of people incarcerated in Idaho prisons grew nearly 30 percent between 2004 and 2010. More than a third of those in prison are repeat offenders.

The Council of State Governments Justice Center will help lawmakers research the issue.

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