Location: SCR 352
Perspectives on Jail Overcrowding
COUNTY COURTHOUSE AND COUNTY JAIL FUNDING AND OVERCROWDING SOLUTIONS
|Votes: View-->||Action Taken:|
10:05 AM -- Perspectives on Jail Overcrowding
Stan Hilkey, Director of the Colorado Department of Public Safety, first discussed the role of Medicaid in serving the inmate population. He explained that jails will not accept anyone without a medical clearance, and arrested individuals with a noted medical condition will visit a hospital before the jail. At this juncture, the arrested individuals are still eligible to receive Medicaid coverage because they are not behind bars. He also emphasized that the pre-trial population is diverted as much as possible to mental health facilities or treatment if the need is apparent.
Mr. Hilkey relayed that jurisdictions benefit from a criminal justice coordinating council, which should include all parties involved in the criminal justice system. Further, coordinating councils put local jurisdictions in a better position to receive technical assistance and grants from national organizations. He also stressed the importance of analyzing the system from all decision-making points, starting at the time of arrest.
Mr. Hilkey discussed risk assessments, evidence-based decision making, and the pre-trial program in Mesa County. He also noted that Mesa County had a strong criminal justice coordinating council. Among other items, the council closely reviewed the bond schedule, composition of the pre-trial population, pre-sentence investigations, case loads, and appearance and safety rates.
Mr. Hilkey further explained reasons for the varying daily costs of jail across the state and suggested that a common formula be developed for more accurate comparisons. Some counties include marginal costs while others do not. Lastly, he discussed failure to appear rates and relayed that pre-trial programs and reminder calls increase the likelihood of individuals showing up to court. He answered questions from the committee about reminder calls, pre-trial services, bail, alternatives to jail, work release programs, resources or lack thereof, and coordinating councils and facilitators.
Mr. Hilkey distributed the following handouts:
- Moving Beyond Money: A Primer on Bail Reform,Criminal Justice Policy Program, Harvard Law School, October 2016 (Attachment B);
- Colorado profile on prison and jail incarceration rates, Prison Policy Initiative (Attachment C);
- Era of Mass Expansion: Why State Officials Should Fight Jail Growth,Prison Policy Initiative, May 2017 (Attachment D); and
- Pretrial Justice: What Sheriffs Need to Know, Pre-Trial Justice Institute (Attachment E).