Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Adco Commissioners Announce Changes to Reduce Jail Population

The Adams County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution in the Oct. 31, 2011 public hearing to implement cost-saving measures at the detention facility to help close a $7-9 million shortfall in the county’s 2012 preliminary budget.

“The county, like all other jurisdictions, is facing constrained financial conditions,” said board Chairman W. R. “Skip” Fischer. “The commissioners are dedicated to examining all county services to find opportunities to reduce spending and identify inefficiencies in our operations that drain public resources.”

The Adams County jail has an operating budget of $29 million for 2011. After a thorough internal operational review and a jail study analysis conducted by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC), Sheriff Doug Darr advised the Board of County Commissioners that over 50 percent of the inmate population at the Adams County jail is comprised of low-risk offenders. The NIC advised changes be made to the jail management system to put the detention facility on a sustainable path.

“In Colorado, municipalities may only house their inmates at a county jail with the permission of the Board of County Commissioners,” said Commissioner Fischer. “After much input from the Sheriff, municipal officials and experts from the NIC, the board decided to impose a soft cap of 30 municipal inmates in an effort to reduce the number of low-level offenders in the county jail.”

According to the adopted resolution, the Board of County Commissioners will charge municipalities $45 per day for each inmate that exceeds the cap established for that municipality effective Jan. 1, 2012. Caps for each municipality are based upon calculations performed by the sheriff. Municipal inmates charged with domestic violence offenses will not be counted toward the population cap for municipal inmates at the jail and exceptions may be granted by the jail commander.

The NIC analysis identified that current approaches to jail population management are insufficient and recommended a Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee be formed. The Board of County Commissioners will establish and provide the necessary funds for an Adams County Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee as recommended by the NIC. The committee will include municipal and criminal justice representatives.

The resolution also directs the establishment of a working group with municipal officials to discuss additional ways the jail budget issue can be addressed. The Board of County Commissioners will review all policies regarding municipal inmates no later than July 2012.

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