The Delta Correctional Center (DCC) is rated in a just-released study as a "Tier 2" facility, defined as a facility "best suited to meet the (corrections) system's projected custody level housing needs."
That finding has helped ease fears locally that the DCC, which has experienced inmate population declines, might be a Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) prison slated for immediate closure.
The months-long Colorado Prison Utilization Study was released last week. It was commissioned by the General Assembly because of inmate population declines. The study's major findings included:
• Colorado's prison system has already experienced the bulk of its inmate population declines, at least into the near future.
• Colorado's prison population declines, part of a national trend, are seen as "stabilizing and tapering."
• Therefore, based on current projections, more prison closings or prison bed furloughs are not foreseen at the present time.
Under assumptions and the various projections and scenarios of the study, facilities on a short list for possible closure could be Rifle Correctional Center, Cheyenne Mountain Re-entry Center, Kit Carson Correctional Center, Four Mile Correctional Center, Skyline Correctional Center, Colorado Correctional Center, and the Youthful Offender System.
Being named on that short list is not a death sentence for the Rifle Correctional Center. The Prison Utilization Study evaluated four different prison population scenarios. The scenario projecting the largest future prison declines recommended closure of Rifle and Cheyenne Mountain in 2014; closure of Kit Carson in 2016; and, closure of Four Mile and Skyline in 2018. Other scenarios used to evaluate the state's prisons called for fewer closures, or even for re-opening surplus beds.
In fact, the study's self-described "most prudent forecast to guide policy changes at this time" recommends no prison capacity changes in the next five-year time frame.
Still, the study states that other factors "complicate forecasting the state's prison population now."
The study's authors, consulting firm CNA of Alexandria, Va., presented its findings to members of the General Assembly's Joint Budget Committee (JBC) on June 20 in an Internet broadcast session.
One DCC detail was in the "facility cost profile" analysis. The DCC's "per diem cost" of just over $60 is at the low end of the range for 23 CDOC facilities studied, but its "staff per inmate ratio" compared with that per diem cost was the second highest at 0.35 staff per inmate. The DCC is currently operating below its capacity of 480 inmates, and the study's authors told the JBC last week, "Smaller facilities don't have economies of scale for their staffing levels."
The study found that CDOC numbers "significantly overstate," by 2,183, the number of prison beds that are actually available for use. The CDOC's total system bed count is even higher at 21,553, while the study places CDOC's actual operational capacity at 17,533.
With an operational capacity of 17,533, the study found that the CDOC population was 17.491 inmates as of May 31.
The JBC and the General Assembly will be tasked with evaluating the study and finalizing any recommendations for CDOC funding that may be based on it.blog comments powered by Disqus