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Colorado’s prison budget nears $1 billion as inmate population grows. Frustrated leaders wanted action yesterday.

February 15, 2019


"In the current budget, the state counts 14,505 beds at state corrections facilities; 3,371 at private prisons; and 669 jail beds. The benchmark vacancy rate is 2 percent, but it sat at less than 1 percent, or 93 beds, at the end of 2018. A recent governor’s office report found that as many as 37 people go to prison each month, but it fluctuated as high as 131 new offenders at one point."


"But instead of opening a new prison to house the additional inmates, state lawmakers want the corrections department to act on legislation approved in 2018to give the agency more leeway in releasing inmates to alternative programs, such as community supervision, when vacancy is an issue."


“We have been working on this issue for years now, looking at the ballooning prison budget,” said state Rep. Leslie Herod, a Denver Democrat who led recent efforts to reduce the prison population.

“We have put in measures and mechanisms so they don’t actually have to increase the capacity, but they can move folks around, they can do presumptive parole. … We need to make sure that people are moved through the system in a way that is safe and appropriate, and we are not doing that as quickly as possible.”




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