The Denver Justice Center under construction won't have enough cells for women,who will be bused to county jail.
The new justice center rising from the ground in downtown Denver will not have enough jail beds for women, critics say.
Under current plans, women, who make up 10 percent of the inmate population but as a group are growing in numbers faster than men, will be held in the new facility briefly and bused to the county jail on Smith Road in north Denver for most of their time in lockup.
"We're disappointed women won't be able to have extended stays at the new facility," said Carol Lease, executive director of The Empowerment Program, a nonprofit organization that provides access to counseling, education, job and housing referrals to incarcerated women.
Jail officials, however, say they planned it this way so women inmates would have access to programs at the Smith Road jail that can help them avoid repeat offenses that will land them back in jail.
Still, some activists say women should have the same access to the new jail facility as men.
"Women will be stashed out at county at an old, decrepit facility," said Christie Donner, executive director of the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, which opposed the new jail.
"Part of the whole point for why the county was going to voters and asking for all this money was concerns about the quality of life," she said......
Lease said her concerns were more about access. She said once the new jail opens it will be tough for families of the women inmates to see them before sentencing because the county jail is so far away.
"We're talking poor people who get put in jail because they can't make bond," Lease said.
Lease said there's evidence that connection with family members helps reduce recidivism.
The Rocky Mountain News