“There are better opportunities for treatment than the Department of Corrections,” said Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, told The Colorado Independent. Giving these offenders treatment instead of prison time, she said, will help keep recidivism rates down.
To deal with an expected rise in the prison population, DOC is hoping to open up more private prison beds, including those in Colorado State Penitentiary II, now called the Centennial South Correctional Facility, which was built in 2010 to hold inmates in solitary confinement and was mothballed in 2012. The Cañon City prison is not yet suitable for non-solitary confinement inmates; DOC needs to build an outdoor recreation facility and make other renovations before they can funnel in prisoners. In total, it is expected to cost $18.8 million to reopen the prison, which they are requesting from lawmakers this year.
DOC’s total budget request is $922 million for the next fiscal year, a 23 percent increase from the 2011 budget of $747 million. This comes as the prison population has declined about 12 percent since 2011.
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