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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.

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ritter Green Lights CSP II Opening

How can Ritter justify this when he is cutting the very programs that are evidence based and also the ones that help people when they are released? 

Pueblo Chieftain
DENVER — Gov. Bill Ritter on Thursday announced that the state's newest prison, which is still under construction and awaiting funding for staff, will open earlier than expected, while another prison program in Southern Colorado will be shuttered.

  Colorado State Penitentiary II in Canon City will employ 229 workers to guard 336 high-security inmates (one-third of the prison's capacity) on July 1. Inmates will be transferred there from Limon, Buena Vista and the Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility beginning Sept. 1.

   Construction of the $162 million prison is expected to be complete in June.

  The Colorado Department of Corrections announced in October that CSPII would not open in July as initially planned due to the state's budget crisis, which prevented it from being staffed.

  Ritter said $10.8 million of the state's 2010-11 budget will be devoted to the opening of CSPII. But as a consequence, the state's only boot-camp prison program for adult inmates, located in Buena Vista, will be closed, saving the state almost $1 million.   Ritter's plan calls for the 32.7 full-time employees at the boot camp to be reassigned within the prison system.

  The Governor's Office of State Planning and Budgeting declared: "The boot camp program is not supported by research as an evidence-based practice that reduces offender recidivism."

 Katherine Sanguinetti, a DOC spokeswoman, said the boot camp will close June 30. It serves 79 inmates on average, and has a capacity of 100. Inmates housed at the Buena Vista boot camp will be absorbed into other state prisons, she said.


Anonymous said...

I wonder how you open a prison thats incomplete??
Being from the construction industry it seems that all citys have ordinance's that dont allow the opening of parts of buildings under construction? I was always told it was in the interest of public safety to make the contractor finish and the buildings inspected to make sure they were up to code.
What about the public safety of the inmates and all them guards?? Also why does it take all them guards to watch those few prisoners in whats supposed to bem a state of the art prison??
Dont you all think we need some real down to earth people with common sense to manage DOC operations.

Anonymous said...

The higher the security level, the more staff required to supervise, deliver programs and services to cells, etc. Moving offenders to CSPII will reduce the number of violent assaults against staff and other offenders who are properly being placed at the other facilities.

Anonymous said...

Ritter is going to save the State of Colorado $1 million by closing the Boot Camp Program but spend $10.8 million to open CSP II?

This is just one more example of wasteful government spending! Instead of trying to cut the DOC budget with reasonable actions, Ritter is continuing to grow DOC.

My suggestions:

1. Keep Boot Camp
2. Do NOT open CSP II
3. Eliminate Mandatory Parole

There are many offenders who benefit from the boot camp program. Many of the people, if not all, who went through the boot camp program were offered a chance for a reconsideration hearing if they completed boot camp. Boot camp teaches discipline and helps young offenders who didn't learn self-discipline at home. If the offender completed boot camp, his sentence was usually shortened in his reconsideration hearing. Boot camp accomplished a couple of things: 1) taught offenders self-discipline, and 2) helped get that offender through the DOC system in a shorter time frame. Both of these are good for offenders and society.

Now, consider Mandatory Parole. Mandatory Parole is over and above the offender's sentence. An offender may be sentenced to five years in the custody of DOC PLUS two to five years of Mandatory Parole. Typically, parole is denied during the offender's sentence so he serves his full five year sentence, minus a couple of months of earned time, then he serves an additional two to five years on Mandatory Parole. Almost every parolee is placed on ISP for the first six months on parole at additional costs to the parolee and the state.

Take a look at the offenders who are classified as sex offenders by DOC. Many of these offenders have never been convicted of a sex offense. However, DOC has found a way to make more money! DOC held hearings and decided that the offender was a sex offender. Sometimes, it takes more than one hearing for DOC to classify the offender as a sex offender. For example, one offender who had NOT been convicted of a sex offense had a hearing to determine if he was a sex offender. The DOC hearing panel in a state prison decided he was NOT a sex offender. DOC’s answer was to have another hearing in a different prison in which the next DOC hearing panel decided he was a sex offender! DOC holds as many hearings as it wants until it gets the answer it wants.

Then, DOC requires the offender who was never convicted of a sex offense to admit to being a sex offender and state that he “will re-offend without treatment.” If the offender, who was never convicted of a sex offense, refuses to admit to the above statement, he loses earned time at the rate of four days per month.

After these offenders serve their full sentences (minus a portion of their earned time) then when they are released at their Mandatory Release Date (MRD), they are required to participate in sex offender parole. Keep in mind, that many of these people were not convicted of any sex offense EVER. Some of the people currently on Sex Offender Parole were charged with a sex offense but went to trial and were ACQUITTED OF ALL CHARGES! But, DOC abuses it power and requires these parolees to serve Sex Offender Parole.

Anonymous said...

Continued from above: A parolee on Sex Offender Parole is immediately placed on ISP with an ankle monitor and is required to attend sex offender counseling at a cost to the parolee of $60 per week for a group counseling session. The parolee is required to see his Parole Officer (PO) every other week, he is required to report to ComCor every other week, has random UAs, and has a home “visit” or inspection at least monthly by his PO who is always accompanied by at least one other PO. Additionally, the parolee is required to submit to polygraphs on an almost monthly basis at a cost to the parolee of $250 per polygraph. (Remember that polygraphs are not admissible in any criminal trial in Colorado.) If the parolee “fails” his polygraph, he is required to attend another weekly group counseling session at a cost of $20 per week. Take a minute and add up these WEEKLY costs:

Group Counseling Session 1 $60
Group Counseling Session 2 $20

Now, add up the MONTHLY costs:

Counseling Sessions 1 & 2 $320 (4 weeks per month)
Counseling Sessions 1 & 2 $400 (5 weeks per month)
Polygraphs $250 each
UA (2 per mo. @ $3 each on ISP) $ 12
C-Wise Monitoring $ 10

If the parolee wants a place to live (Duh!) $500
Utilities $130
Phone (required for ankle monitor) $ 75
Transportation (bus or car + gasoline) $200
Groceries $200
Best case (using 4 weeks per month) $1,697

Now, figure that the parolee has a 40-hour per week job at minimum wage earning $7.25 per hour = $1,160 BEFORE taxes and around $986 AFTER taxes. But the parolee is required to tell any employer that he is on sex offender parole and he has to attend a minimum of three meetings per week and probably needs at least three mornings or afternoons off work for these meetings. Plus, he will need to do a minimum of two UAs per month. That will mean two more mornings or afternoons off work. Most parolees are required to pay restitution as a condition of parole, as well. Many also owe child support.

How long could you keep your job if you told your boss that you need at least three afternoons off each week and then, with no notice, you need another afternoon off twice a month to do a UA? But, you still need to be paid for 40 hours because you have approximately $1,700 of expenses per month – even though your take-home pay for 40 hours each week is $986 per month! Do you see what Colorado is doing to these parolees who have already served their sentences in prison? No wonder that statistics show that there is a high percentage of parolees who return to prison within three years of their release date! Holding on for three years is pretty amazing under these circumstances!

DOC is setting up every one of these people who are on parole, especially on sex offender parole, for failure. Keep in mind that many of the people on sex offender parole WERE NEVER CONVICTED OF A SEX OFFENSE!

Besides the two counseling sessions for sex offender counseling, the parolees are required to attend programs about drug and alcohol. The state (taxpayers) often pays for the 12-week program at places like Bridge to Awareness and others.

So, when Ritter says he is going to save $1 million by cutting out boot camp but will spend $10.8 million more for CSP II, he is just allowing DOC and the Parole Board to run wild. If you call Ritter’s office to discuss the Mandatory Parole issues and the costs to parolees, he will not take the call but one of his lackeys will. They will tell you that Ritter has NO OVERSIGHT of the Parole Board. Can you believe that? The Governor has no oversight of the Parole Board! That means the Parole Board does, and will continue to do, whatever the heck it wants! PM

Anonymous said...

How can Ritter say he has no oversight with the Parole Board when he appoints all of them? Once and for all those political appointments need to be taken away from him and given to the Legislature to control. Let them recruit, interview and confirm them. What a joke our system is! DOC and Parole are the real cause that our recidivism rate is 68%. And now Buffy McFadyen is falling for their BS. If DOC would also re-classify offenders to lower levels as they should be, then there would be no need for CSPII. DOC has always put people where they have a bed available, they have never cared about classification. They are the reason for the inmate/staff assaults and the inmates being murdered. I also find it very interesting that there are no offenders being transferred to CSP II from any of the facilities where the inmates were killed. Why is that???

Anonymous said...

Yes, can you believe it? Call Ritter's office and ask about the Parole Board. Even though Ritter appoints the members of the Parole Board, his staff member actually said that Ritter has no oversight of it.

Anonymous said...

Someone mentioned sex offender parole in an earlier comment. Well, there should be an investigation of sex offender parole. I had a friend who was in that situation -- never convicted of a sex offense but had to take sex offender counseling sessions for a couple of years. He said the counselor actually said that fist-bumping and handshakes were "sexual contact" that had to be reported to the counselor by the parolees. Fist-bumping!! Like when someone says, "Good job!" and puts out his fist to you. How in the world can that be considered sexual? The counselors sound like radical whack jobs!

Anonymous said...

These articles are real eye openers and must be publisized so the voters in this state can make an intelligent vote.
Now on the mandatory parole, it was the legislature who passed the statute!!! People like Penry are all for it.
To correct this and the bull thats going on within DOC is the fault of the Colorado BAR Association for letting people like Ari Zavaras write regulations that do not allow inmates DUE PROCESS. We need some serious law suits aimed at these people and there ideology funded by an organization like Familys Voice for Inmates.

Anonymous said...

Maybe what is needed is an investigation of the entire Criminal Justice Process in CO. Too bad there are no longer in real investigative reporters. Someone to ask knowledgable questions and expect real data in the answers.
There is no way DOC saved 10 million dollars. There is little real savings in the partial opening of a prison. The plan is just a set-up to place more people and request additional staff next year. How many more educated related funds can be taken or college fee raised? What a sad state of affairs when other states are closing prisons. WHERE IS THE ALARM?

Anonymous said...

in reply to the guy who was talking about why they would open CSP II while its incomplete. there are 3 towers there, A, B, and C. B will be open in july, while A and C are being completed.