Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

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.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

New Jail In Colorado Springs

The El Paso County jail is overcrowded according to the Sheriff's Department. But there is good news. By June, a lot of that pressure will go away once the county's new facility opens up.

The jail, in downtown Colorado Springs on S. Tejon, that used to be a maximum security prison, is now slowly being transformed into a minimum security jail.

The old prison was shut down years ago because it was very old and had too many safety violations. The halls were too narrow, there were no emergency exits, no smoke detectors and no fire sprinklers. But the whole building has since been gutted out and by summer there will be two floors of space for hundreds of men and women work release prisoners.

"It was a lot of work," said Lt. Paul Billiard with the El Paso County Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff officials are hopeful to have doors opened by June. The building will be able to house 350 inmates.

It's El Paso County's newest jail but it won't be a maximum facility prison.

"Inmates are going to be allowed to come and go," said Mitch Lincoln,
Detention Support Division Commander.

It's where work release inmates will be paying their debt to society.

About 50 of the very inmates that'll be serving their time at the new facility have already been of service. They're the ones who gutted the old building out.

"We ended up getting around 300 tons of steel out of this facility," said Lincoln.

Plus, their hard work paid off when most of them landed jobs doing construction.

"Brining the inmates into this project gave the inmates, not only skills, but it also provided a valuable asset to the community," said Lt. Billiard.

The inmate's hard labor saved the county half-a-million-dollars according to Lincoln. Their work also helped ease the growing number of prisoners.

"The jail is very crowded," said Lt. Billiard.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

it seems you dedicated officials missed the very point. Find those people a job instead of making a felon out of them by locking them up. That way they wont be able to work if they ever get out???
But then the mind set in Colorado is to hire illegals to do there labor. Isnt being here illegally a crime??? djw