As a state we need to think about how we lock people up, how long we lock them up for and what the payoff is. We have over 9,000 people who are eligible for parole. Hundreds of them are just waiting for their mandatory release date. We could simply reassess those and let them out a few months earlier, which would help up to free up space. The judiciary and prosecution needs to employ more alternatives to prison. We have many options available to us. Those options would require a funding stream from the state. It's certainly better to fund them than to write checks to CCA. By implementing an import ban that would stop CCA from bringing prisoners from other states we would certainly quiet their rant.
Firm says without 5% hike in daily per-inmate pay, it will clear Colorado inmates from 1 prison
February 10, 2008 - 12:54AM
DENVER - A standoff between a legislative committee and a private company that houses 4,023 state inmates is raising serious questions about the future of Colorado’s prison operations, namely: Should the state continue to contract with private prison companies?
Or should more public prisons be built and, if so, should state spending on nonprison projects be put on hold?
The issue surfaced late last year after Corrections Corporation of America requested a 5 percent increase in daily per-prisoner payments from the state for each year of the next decade.
The company operates five private prisons in Colorado and has said it will have to clear inmates out of one of them if it does not receive more money. With Colorado’s 23 publicly owned prisons filled almost to capacity — three of them with doublebunked beds in many cells — and with CCA housing 19.4 percent of Colorado inmates, legislators find themselves in a bind.
The Joint Budget Committee has proposed a 1.5 percent increase in payments for all private-service providers, including CCA. Agreeing to the Tennessee-based company’s request for an additional 3.5 percent would cost the state an additional $3.7 million. The money might be found, but doing so would be unfair to groups such as Medicaid providers and home-based health-care providers, who would get a far lower raise because they do not have the negotiating power of CCA, said committee Chairman Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction.
Refusing the request — or threat, as some legislators have termed it — would mean the state must come up with hundreds of new prison beds soon. This could be done by building another facility, reducing the prison population or contracting with another company that is looking to build a prison in Hudson, about 35 miles northeast of Denver.
Grand Junction Sentinel