The Denver Post
BRIGHTON — The Adams County Detention Center — in an effort to dissuade cities from sending petty criminals to jail and to help fill a budget gap — on Jan. 1 plans to impose a cap on the number of prisoners it will accept.
The "soft cap" calls for each city to get a certain number of beds on any one day at the county jail. Under the plan, if a city exceeds its allotted beds, it could be charged up to $55 for each additional inmate.
Sheriff Doug Darr wants to stop all municipal residents from being sent to the jail for petty offenses.
The soft cap will also help Adams County deal with jail overcrowding and a budget gap of $7 million to $9 million, county officials said.
"We can't walk another mile this way," Darr told city representatives at a meeting last week. He added he is moving deputies from critical areas in the county to cover jail positions hit by hiring freezes and cutbacks. "I have the responsibility to man a safe facility."
The cities — which will see their jail beds whittled from 130 to 30 — say a soft cap is unnecessary if Darr follows recommendations submitted by the city of Thornton.
The recommendations include sending municipal prisoners to less-crowded jails in rural areas and more belt-tightening by the county.
"We cannot recall any caps on municipal inmates other than temporary caps immediately prior to the construction or expansion of new jail facilities," said Thornton City Manager Jack Ethredge.
The soft cap is especially galling to the cities because 75 percent of all property taxes collected by Adams County comes from the cities in the county, said Ethredge.
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.
Monday, October 31, 2011
The Denver Post