Colorado has taken hundreds of prisoners out of solitary confinement and sent them to lower-security lockups as part of a new systemwide strategy that is less costly and gives inmates more educational opportunities, reports the Denver Post. “Ninety-seven percent of those who are locked up will get released,” corrections director Tom Clements said. Of those prisoners in administrative segregation, 47 percent are released directly to the community.
The mass transfer of inmates from segregated single cells to general-population cell blocks is one of the main reasons Colorado will close Centennial Correctional Facility in Cañon City — its second maximum-security prison to shutter — by 2013 and before a newly built prison will be completely filled. Colorado closed its first prison, Fort Lyon Correctional Facility, on March 1. Prison populations are declining in Colorado and nationwide after decades of steady growth. For the first time since 1977, the total U.S. prison population slightly decreased in 2010.