CCJRC has been heavily involved with this project. For a list of recommendations
We will keep you updated on those that are approved and any other developments as they arise.
Should an inmate who cracks the books and earns a diploma get out early?
What about positive-reinforcement programs in prisons - do they work?
Those ideas are among 66 recommendations for reducing prison costs - and possibly, prison sentences - that will be presented to Gov. Bill Ritter on Thursday.
The list represents 10 months of work by the Colorado Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice, formed by Ritter in January. It would affect both adults and juveniles who make up the state's inmate population of 23,300.
The panel's overriding goals were to find ways to reduce soaring prison costs without compromising public safety or shuffling the costs from one agency to another, said Lance Clem, spokesman for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
It is up to Ritter to choose which of the ideas to push. Most of the points could be implemented through directives to state agencies, such as the Department of Corrections. But 13 of them would require legislative approval.
Prison and parole costs eat up about 8 percent of the state budget and likely will grow to 12 percent in a few years.
In the last fiscal year, the Department of Corrections received more than $636 million, which, adjusted for inflation, was more than four times what it received 20 years ago, according to a report done for the state earlier this year.
The recommendations were drawn up by a 27-member panel that includes representatives of law enforcement, as well as attorneys, victims rights advocates, elected officials and corrections experts.
Clem said the actual cost savings can't be estimated until the governor decides which recommendations to act on.
The proposals that would require legislative approval include:
* Abolishing laws that keep some ex-inmates from receiving driver's licenses. Driving is a key to employment and becoming a productive member of society, the panel said.
* Lifting any statutory barriers that would prevent funding of secondary education for inmates.
* Giving inmates opportunities to reduce their sentences by completing certain goals, such as education degrees.
* Offering positive-reinforcement programs and incentives to help inmates complete probation.
Rocky Mountain News