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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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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Zavaras Talks About DOC During Tough Economic Times

Chaffee County Times
Kathy Davis
Times Reporter

During a visit with Buena Vista Correctional Complex employees and The Times Feb. 9, Colorado Department of Corrections executive director Ari Zavaras shared information on what is happening at the Colorado Department of Corrections. He talked about the state of CDOC given current economic times and state budget cuts.

Zavaras said he also wanted people to know about what he is focusing upon and proposals for the 2010-2011 CDOC budget.

"I like to communicate the best way I can and touch as many people as I can. I want to let the community know what we are doing and how we are doing it," Zavaras said. Buena Vista Correctional Complex is a major contributor to the community and wants to be a good neighbor, he said. An example of one of the major contributions to the community is the inmate work crews out shoveling snow in Buena Vista Feb. 9, he said. The number of employees at BVCC is around 400, he said. A sample of other programs at BVCC helping the community is the dog-training program at the facility.

The fiscal year for CDOC runs from July to the end of June. The department of corrections is preparing the next budget, the 2010-2011 budget. In the past couple of budget years, the CDOC employees have seen no pay raises and that probably won't change in the next year's budget, Zavaras said. State employees also were required to take eight furlough days without pay. With the 2009 budget cuts, there was no increase in the budget to cover inflation for the cost of the food for the prison complexes. Colorado Department of Corrections is still replacing retirees even during a hiring freeze, he said.

"Revenues continue to decline and there will be further adjustments," he said. Zavaras said the state and CDOC are looking for a lot of different options for the next fiscal year. Every option is on the table, he said.

Zavaras discussed two budget proposals for the next budget year. One proposal is to create as much efficiency as the department can. One way to create efficiency is to deliver programs in a better way. Part of the programs improvement would be to continue focusing on improving the recidivism rate. Over a period of six months, July through December 2009, there was a decrease in the prison population. The decrease in the prison population had a positive impact on the budget, he said. The number of inmates in CDOC facilities was decreased by 62 males and by 24 females each month for six months.


Anonymous said...

62 males and 24 females a month? How astronomically huge! That muist save several billion dollars!

Anonymous said...

If they really want to save money its a must that the legislature does away with the Mandatory Parole Statute which is nothin more than double jeopardy. It would shorten everyones sentence and save millions of dollars and officers to run the lengthy parole system which hasnt done a very good job anyway.

Anonymous said...

What he is not saying is that his department thinks that it is immune from cuts. He has not cut a single budgeted position in 10 years. He will cut programs, close private prisons and open his baby CSP II.

Anonymous said...

Need to correct the previous writer. DOC lost 500 positions and 54 million dollars in 2003 budget. Programs and services were slashed. Long waiting lists for inmates to get into treatment and school. Still haven't recovered. With Colorado's high school drop out rate getting worse, waiting lists for school in prison are growing.

Anonymous said...

considering all the comments its pretty obious that the leadership at CDOC is pretty bad. For a grade from 1 to 10 i would give them a ZERO for there performance. To me that should mean replacements for heads and a major change in goals and direction for a worn out old system. They have so many regulations there strangeling in them.