\ DENVER — Flexibility was added Friday to a bill that originally called for the closure of one state prison.
An amendment in the Senate Committee on State, Veterans and Military Affairs calls for the elimination of 300 prison slots. Those could come through scaling back placements in private prisons or state prisons, or through closure of a prison.
In its original form, HB1421 sought to decommission one state prison that houses 500 or more inmates. The Colorado Department of Corrections said 11 prisons fit that description. Eight of them are in Southern Colorado.
While the new approach could spare any prison from closing, it also exposes smaller prisons to closure that were safe under the bill in its original form. Among them are several state-run institutions in Southern Colorado: Trinidad Correctional Facility in Trinidad, Arrowhead Correctional Facility in Canon City, Four Mile Correctional Center in Canon City, Skyline Correctional Center in Canon City, San Carlos Correctional Facility in Pueblo and the Youthful Offender System in Pueblo.
Private prisons such as Bent County and Crowley County correctional facilities in Southeastern Colorado also now are exposed to losing inmates.
But the flexibility that is allowed under the amendment attached to the bill Friday could mean that no single prison will be saddled with heavy losses to its head count.
Which prison would close was at the discretion of DOC's executive director under the original bill.
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