The Denver Post
BRIGHTON — Adams County is inching toward toughening its policy regarding housing municipal prisoners in hopes of easing overcrowding and cutting costs at the Adams County Detention Facility.
But the ideas being floated — including locking out many misdemeanor offenders already sentenced by municipal judges — is making many local mayors and police officials uneasy.
"The last thing we want is our judges releasing someone and he murders somebody," Westminster Mayor Nancy McNally said at a meeting with jail officials on Friday.
Federal Heights Police Chief Les Acker added the changes proposed by Adams County Sheriff Doug Darr could lead to someone who is truly dangerous but facing only a minor offense being set free.
"(Oklahoma City bomber) was pulled over for a bad tail light," Acker said.
Darr, however, said changes have to be made because budget woes have forced drastic cutbacks in jail personnel and other parts of the Sheriff's Office.
"I hate to do this, I really do," Darr said. "But we can't go on like this, we are working our people to death."
County officials are proposing a "soft cap" on the number of municipal inmates that can be held at the jail. Under the plan, no one cited for a petty offense or "unclassified" misdemeanor in any Adams County city would be housed at the jail.
The cap could be waived on case-by-case basis at the request of the city, and with the permission of the jail commander. However, each city would be limited to a certain number of beds based on its population.
Also, if the number of inmates arrested in a certain city exceeds its allotted number of beds, the city will be charged a fee, which is proposed at $55 a day.
Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?
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.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
The Denver Post