Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Jeffco Wants More Money To Expand Jail

Jefferson County is looking to expand their relatively newly expanded jail citing that bookings have gone up. We can't build our way out of this problem and other options need to be looked at first.

Golden - Just six years after a $26 million jail expansion, Jefferson County officials are looking at increasing capacity again in a few years.

The intent was to have the current 1,326-bed jail meet inmate and staffing needs until 2010, "and we're not too far off from that," said Cmdr. Dave Walcher, who oversees detention services.

Bookings and average lengths of stay - which drive how many jail beds are needed - have been steadily rising, Walcher told county commissioners Tuesday as sheriff's officials presented the 2025 jail master plan.

Bookings have increased 4.5 percent a year in the past five years to nearly 25,000 last year, and the average length of stay has jumped from 14 days in 1999 to 22 days in 2006, leading to a 12 percent increase in the average daily jail population.

"We cannot continue that growth, but we have to plan for it," Walcher said.

While increasing the number of jail beds is most important, Walcher said, "We're at our capacity in a lot of areas," including evidence, lab and records space.

The heating and cooling plant dates to when the jail opened on the Golden campus in 1986 and is near the end of its lifespan.

The master plan calls for boosting the 394,000-square- foot jail to about 700,000 square feet to house 2,454 inmates, plus additional inmates with temporary beds. Expansion would come in two phases: the first at a cost of $53.5 million and the second, $89.7 million

The Denver Post

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