Colorado officials are sending higher-risk inmates to community corrections facilities, where unarmed staffers worry that nearly nonexistent security endangers themselves and the public, reports the Denver Post. Corrections technician Chris Kozacek, who was shot twice in the back by an escaped community corrections convict in June, said his near-death experience illustrates what could happen as the state pushes more dangerous inmates into the community in search of budget savings. “I thought I was a goner,” Kozacek said of the 1 a.m. June 28 shooting.
“We’re getting more challenging, more unpredictable — tougher guys.” Average offender criminal history scores — numbers that rate an inmate’s risk to the community based on factors including recidivism and violence — have climbed 15 percent in the past decade. The trend is driven partly by cost-saving measures by the legislature that take offenders out of prison and put them into the community, Colorado Division of Criminal Justice director Jeanne Smith said. Colorado has 36 private community corrections facilities holding 2,700 offenders.