Denver voters are likely to approve a jail expansion they have turned down twice in the past, says Mayor John Hickenlooper, according to the Rocky Mountain News. The new jail will not involve higher taxes, there will be a limit on the size of a new downtown facility, and it will include a new courthouse, he said. All three elements were missing from past proposals.
In May, voters will decide if the new justice center should be built. Hickenlooper said that in order to be civilized, the jail must change. “I can’t help going into there without putting myself in their place,” he said of the inmates. “Everyone who sees this has been moved.” He spoke after visiting a particularly dark and squalid former storeroom that is now being used as overflow housing for more than a dozen inmates. The city was looking to fund a $360 million project producing a jail capacity for 3,300 inmates in 15 to 20 years. City planners have been retooling the project, seeing if they can reduce it by $20 million.