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.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Denver councilman suggests rethinking plans for new jail annex - The Denver Post

Denver councilman suggests rethinking plans for new jail annex - The Denver Post

Jail populations in Denver have declined so much that the city should rethink plans to build a $25 million jail annex in conjunction with the new downtown jail and justice center, Councilman Doug Linkhart said this week.

Linkhart said the city's success in unclogging its jails may make part of the justice-center project unnecessary. Voters approved $378 million in 2005 to build a new courthouse, downtown jail and to build a new facility at what is known as the county jail on Smith Road.

Linkhart thinks building a new 256-bed facility at Smith Road to replace 500 of the 1,634 beds there now may no longer be necessary, and he isn't sure the city should spend the $25 million in bonds voters approved for construction at that facility.

Instead, he thinks voters might want to redirect the bonds to building a new recreation center. He said the city also could partner with the state of Colorado to build a new re-entry center for convicts leaving prison or simply not spend the money.

His plan has prompted a pushback from the city's corrections officials, though.

"Let me tell you, the councilman doesn't have to work in this jail. The sheriff's deputies do," said Jail Division Chief Elias Diggins. "Those deputies who are on the front line and those civilians who are on the front line have to work in these deplorable conditions. And for anyone to say we don't need a better working environment or better conditions for inmates is absurd."

Five years ago, Denver's jails were so crowded that officials had to erect a tent to house prisoners. Now, thanks to reductions in the time it takes to get inmates before judges and the creation of a drug court and early-release programs, the average daily number of inmates at the jails has declined by about 300. On Wednesday, Denver housed 2,008 inmates.

The city will open a new downtown, 1,500-bed jail later this year. Another 1,634 beds exist at the Smith Road facility, and the city plans in June to start spending $25 million in bond money to build another 256-bed facility at Smith Road and tear down antiquated buildings there that house 500 of the inmates.

There will be so much jail space after the construction is completed that the city plans this year to start renting out about 184 jail beds to the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the state of Colorado.


Anonymous said...

maybe this time Denver will use data in planning

Anonymous said...

How about turning the extra space into a marijuna-processing facility where inmates can learn to package and sell for work in the dispensaries upon their release?

Anonymous said...

It will take a lot more than 25 million just to renovate the existing buildings at Denver County. This is assuming of course that the same hardworking folks who work for the Denver Sherrifs office are involved in supervising the project.