A man accused three times of sex offenses, a drunken driver convicted of vehicular homicide, and a man nabbed 46 times for alleged crimes are among the first 10 Colorado inmates granted early prison releases, reports the Denver Post. The 10 whose sentences were cut by weeks or months by the Colorado Parole Board were among a smaller-than-expected number the board considered safe to let go. Board chairman David Michaud said the process of finding offenders deserving of early release has proved much more difficult than anticipated.
The volume and diversity of the 10 inmates’ prior offenses shows how difficult it will continue to be for the state to choose among thousands of convicted criminals for early release. The early-release initiative, announced Aug. 18, is part of a plan to save $19 million toward filling a $318 million gap in this year’s state budget. State officials have projected that over the two years, 8,003 inmates will be eligible. Gov. Bill Ritter has said that killers, kidnappers, and sex offenders would not get out early. Corrections officials initially estimated that the parole board would deny 20 percent of the early-release cases, leaving about 6,400 who could be released up to six months early.