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.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

State Officials Defend Privates

DENVER - The Colorado Department of Corrections will have a new carrot - or stick - to use in its dealings with private prisons starting this summer.

Under a new law approved by the Colorado Legislature and signed by Gov. Bill Ritter, the department will be able to withhold inmate per diem money if a private prison doesn't comply with conditions of its contract.

The measure, detailed in HB1363, allows the DOC to negotiate as part of its annual contracts with private prison companies what per diem rate it will pay, and how much extra it can give up to a maximum rate set by the Legislature each year.

Currently, that rate is $52.69 per inmate a day, but is set to increase 4.25 percent next year, bringing that per diem to $54.90 a day.

"It gives us some flexibility, a tool to work with a private facility that emphasizes public safety and improved outcomes," DOC Executive Director Ari Zavaras said of the new law. "The way it was set before is, whatever the per diem is, that's what we had to pay," he said. "What we have the ability to do now is if minimum staffing patterns aren't met, we can actually reduce per diems. That gives the privates the incentive to staff them appropriately. It's also going to give us the ability to negotiate programs, which should improve outcomes that directly relate to recidivism."

Though private prisons routinely come under fire by some, most notably Rep. Buffie McFadyen, D-Pueblo West, as facilities designed more to incarcerate inmates rather than rehabilitate them, Zavaras said that's not what he sees at all.
The Pueblo Chieftain

5 comments:

pcsolotto said...

Nice blog. Thats all.

lawschoolinmate said...

I think it's great that they're using an economic stick to monitor the private prisons. However, I am a little distrustful of the term "negotiate." They're not saying that if the staffing situation isn't met, the DOC can just drop the rate immediately. So let's say that each year, right around contract renegotiation, the private prisons hire temporary workers that bring its staffing up to quota - can the DOC then not negotiate a lower rate? And even if it wants to negotiate, so many political factors (and lobbying) come into negotiating with private prisons - after all, the reason states use the private prisons in the first place is that it's less expensive. So negotiation room seems to be limited b/c the state needs the private prisons as much as the private prisons need the state.

Anonymous said...

The information being given isnt true. The state can keep prisoners much cheaper and could do a much better job yet, if the governor would appoint the right person to head the DOC. Old retired cops dont cut it. The whole system is stuck in a rut just like the rest of our government. Possibly the system needs an Obama person with a vision for a new direction.djw

joe.g said...

True that. No fogies, and no republicans!!!

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