Study: Prison closures not needed, but Rifle site would be good candidate

A study has found that Colorado’s prison population drop is tapering off and prison closures won’t be needed.

But the Rifle Correctional Center is on the list of facilities the study recommends be considered for being shut down if more conservative inmate population projections are assumed.

The study’s preliminary findings were announced today by the Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting. The study, by the CNA nonprofit research group, is scheduled for completion by month’s end.

If the study’s population projection is correct, the 3,200 beds already eliminated from the prison system since 2009 would be sufficient, the study found. But if the state plans based on smaller inmate population projections, other facilities the study recommends for possible closure include the Cheyenne Mountain Re-entry Center in El Paso County, and the Kit Carson, Fourmile and Skyline correctional centers.

Delta’s facility is not on the list of those recommended for possible closure under any scenario.

At meetings last week in Rifle, Delta and all other communities with prisons in Colorado, local representatives stressed the importance of the facilities to their local economies.

The budget office plans to seek feedback from community leaders and the state Department of Corrections, and determine with the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee a schedule for completing a five-year prison plan.

“A different list of potential closures may be included in the five-year plan, but no decisions have been made at this time,” Gov. John Hickenlooper’s office said in a news release today.


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