(June 20) – Today, members of the Joint Budget Committee reaffirmed the work from the 2018 legislative session on pushing for meaningful reforms in Colorado’s corrections system to address prison population and capacity needs.
The Joint Budget Committee (JBC) met today to hear the quarterly revenue forecast and to consider interim supplemental requests, including one from the Department of Corrections (DOC) once again asking for funding to add private prison beds. JBC members unanimously denied DOC’s request, citing the need to implement measures recommended by the legislature to address prison capacity, and to report progress on how those measures impact prison populations.
“We are committed to doing the right thing. Our colleagues on both sides of the aisle sent a strong message this year that as a state we need to address the root causes of projected prison population increases, rather than continuing to spend more taxpayer dollars on private prison beds,” said Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, chairwoman of the JBC. “The legislature has given clear direction on a variety of measures to help address this problem, so we will be monitoring the situation closely to see how they are being implemented and to measure their effectiveness.”
“The Joint Budget Committee is focused on ensuring safety for officers, inmates, and other employees, and also on tackling the core issues in our criminal justice system that are leading to this problem,” said Rep. Dave Young, D-Greeley, who also sits on the JBC. “Legislative efforts passed this year, which were designed to more effectively and appropriately reduce the number of inmates through improved parole processes and better targeted use of community corrections. These changes should have meaningful impacts over the coming months and years.”
“The working group put forward concrete recommendations to help address prison capacity, and combined with bills we passed this year, our corrections system has many tools at its disposal to truly tackle this problem,” said Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, who serves as co-chair of a working group examining corrections reform. “We look forward to hearing from the Department on how these measures are being put into practice and how they alleviate our reliance on building out new prisons.”