Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter wants to invest $8 million in reducing the number of inmates returning to prison in the belief he can save $14 million in the long run. The money would go to mental health and substance abuse programs for parolees, programs to divert kids from Youth Corrections facilities and more space in community corrections, reports the Rocky Mountain News.
In proposals submitted to the Joint Budget Committee, Ritter asked for $8 million for the year starting July 1, which is projected to save $3.2 million immediately by reducing the number of inmates sent to private prisons. Ritter’s plan is expected to save an additional $11 million in the long term. “We’re very excited to see the governor move in this direction,” said Christie Donner, of the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition. “We think he’s right on to look at reducing recidivism and revocations in probation and parole.” Ritter must cut Colorado’s explosive growth in inmates or spend $800 million on new prisons in the next five years.