Prison population holding steady |

Prison population holding steady

DENVER — After years of declines, Colorado has a relatively steady prison population and won’t propose closing more prisons “for the foreseeable future,” a state report concluded Thursday.

Colorado’s prison population was about 17,500 last month. Using current incarceration trends, the study by the Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting projected that the prison population would dip only slightly by 2018.

The preliminary study concluded that no additional prisons should be closed. A more detailed report is due by the end of the month.

Colorado has closed about 3,200 beds in both public and private facilities — including two entire prisons — since 2009.

The report suggested prisons for closure in case current inmate population forecasts fall short.

The study recommended that the privately-run Cheyenne Mountain Re-entry Center in El Paso County be considered for closure. Other facilities recommended for possible closure included Rifle, Kit Carson, Fourmile and Skyline Correctional Centers.

The study is expected to caution that the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility in Canon City is probably nearing the end of its life span. The 1871 prison is older than the state itself, hence the name, and currently houses about 800 medium-security inmates.

A labor union including employees of the Department of Corrections renewed its call Thursday for Colorado to reject four for-profit prisons in Colorado.

“Coloradans shouldn’t be pawns in some corporate game,” said Scott Wasserman, head of Colorado WINS.

— The Associated Press

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