The Gazette wrote their incredibly unflattering opinion on DOC asking for perks to stay in Colorado Springs. The DOC is currently looking for new office space. The Gazette tells them to keep looking.
They have to be kidding. They absolutely cannot be serious at all. It must be some kind of a joke.
The state Department of Corrections is either joking, or it fancies itself on par with the United States Olympic Committee. The agency wants more space - with free new furniture and such - and it's threatening to move from Colorado Springs unless public and private entities pay money to entice it to stay.....The Department of Corrections, is a bureaucracy that oversees Colorado's growing and embarrassing blight of excessive incarceration. It's the hub of a public/private racket that somehow tries to pass off the financial drain of incarceration as economic development, when it's nothing of the sort.
The DOC operates out of a 65,000-square-foot office in southeast Colorado Springs which houses about 240 employees. Agency officials say they're outgrowing the building, and they want something more like 100,000 square feet. It has requested proposals from locations in El Paso, Fremont, Pueblo and Douglas counties. It wants reduced rent, free furniture, help with moving and employee relocation expenses, a "cash allowance" for building improvements, and a host of other public/private goodies.
James Ramsey, a DOC buildings official, argues that a community should pave the way for the agency because "Wherever the central office is located, we've got salaried employees living and spending money."
Wowwee! State employees, spending money right here in Colorado Springs! Well, certainly we should just ante up and give local money to a state agency that has outgrown its britches. Or, we could just quote former presidential spokesman Hodding Carter III: "I'm not going to tell a master politician how to suck eggs."
The indecent proposal calls into question whether our Department of Corrections serves the interests of society, or the interests of the Department of Corrections itself. If DOC officials had the public interest at heart, they would seek the most logical, strategically advantageous location. Instead, they're seeking the location that comes with nice furniture, and "cash allowances" - paid for by the little people - aka a subsidy package to enhance the comfort of state employees.
Even Mike Kazmierski, executive director of the Economic Development Corporation, isn't buying this embarrassing pitch. He questioned the wisdom of a local government subsidizing a branch of state government. El Paso County Commissioner Jim Bensberg characterized the solicitation as a "threat" by DOC to move to another town.
If so, then take your toys and go on down the road. Incarceration is supposed to protect society from dangerous predators. It's not supposed to be some growth venture to be pimped out to the highest bidder.
But the DOC, entangled with the for-profit private prison industry, views caged flesh as a source of cash to dangle like a carrot during tough economic times. Incarceration is the opposite of economic development, because it's an industry that uses tax money to keep people caged and unproductive. It's an industry that thrives when the number of humans living as state liabilities grows.
Colorado Springs Gazette