Location: SCR 352
County Jail Population Issues
COUNTY COURTHOUSE AND COUNTY JAIL FUNDING AND OVERCROWDING SOLUTIONS
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03:06 PM -- County Jail Population Issues
Josh Bellendir, representing the Larimer County Sheriff's Office, replaced Captain Tim Palmer on the agenda. Mr. Bellendir provided an overview of the jail in Larimar County. He discussed the rising population of female inmates, transportation costs for overflow inmates, DOC inmate backlog, and the county's relationship with community corrections. He explained that the county's alternative sentencing program has been successful in managing the jail population. He answered questions from the committee about offenses that warrant jail time, the increase in homeless detainees, and marijuana use and drug addiction among inmates.
Captain Vici Pierce, Montezuma County Sheriff's Office, provided an overview to the committee about the jail and inmate population in her county. She emphasized that jails of all sizes experience many of the same overcrowding issues and that approximately 60 percent of jail inmates in her county are pre-trial detainees. Montezuma County has made attempts at using pre-trial and work release programs but does not have adequate staffing. She discussed the increase in the transient inmate population and answered questions from the committee about drug use.
Sheriff Richard Valdez, Archuleta County Sheriff's Office, reiterated that jails across the state are experiencing similar issues regarding overcrowding and lack of mental health services. Sheriff Valdez explained that these issues are even more pertinent in Archuleta County because parts of the jail are uninhabitable due to severe flooding in 2015. There is a measure on an upcoming county ballot asking for a tax increase expressly for these repairs, but the Sheriff expressed concerns about its passage. Sheriff Valdez also referenced a jail assistance fund in Section 16-3-503 (1), C.R.S., and asked about access to those funds.