Lawmakers at odds with Hickenlooper administration over leasing private prison

“There is a concern that we are taking human judgment out of the equation and we’re working only for budgetary targets,” Sobanet told the working group. “It merits some evaluation and some stakeholder work.”

After a steady decline since 2011, the prison population is expected to start rising again — increasing the stakes for the sentencing reform efforts. But it’s unclear if the lawmakers’ effort to reel in DOC’s budget will lead to prison overcrowding. A report by a Joint Budget Committee staffer shows that there will still be about 700 private prison beds available next year if the DOC does not change its practices.

Lawmakers say DOC can come back next year and make a supplemental budget request to lease the Huerfano County Correctional Facility, a private prison that closed in 2010, if space does not open up.

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