The Denver Post
The Department of Corrections is transferring 321 inmates out of administrative segregation following a new directive by the department's executive director.
Executive Director Tom Clements acknowledged that the state's prisons relied too heavily on administrative segregation. He said one of the reasons it should be reduced is because 97 percent of all offenders will some day be released.
"Our efforts to ease an offender's transition from administrative segregation to eventual release into the community should also reduce recidivism," Clements said in a news release Friday.
Inmates are placed in administrative segregation, or 23-hour lock-down, when they violate prison rules by fighting, drug dealing or organizing gangs.
The reduction in administrative segregation was also called for following an independent analysis by the National Institute of Corrections, the U.S. Department of Justice and two national corrections experts.
"This is an excellent example of good government and how to tackle tough issues head on," Gov. John Hickenlooper said. "In these times of tight budgets, the department is doing a remarkable job of balancing costs with appropriate levels of security."
Last August, Clements began requiring that two prison administrators review all instances in which an offender was held for more than one year.
Of 870 cases that were reviewed, prison officials determined that 321 inmates or 37 percent should be moved out of segregation. The moves are still underway.
Administrative segregation keeps prisons safer, but Colorado prisons had become over-reliant on the tool, Clements said.
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.
Friday, January 20, 2012
The Denver Post