Local jails best prisons at social distancing


  • Courtesy El Paso County Sheriff's Office

Nationwide, local jails have done far more than state prisons to cut their populations in order to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, according to a new report by the Prison Policy Initiative. 

The report shows that while state prisons have cut populations by an average of 5 percent (7 percent in Colorado), the typical jail has accomplished a 30 percent reduction.

In response to advocates demanding he commute the sentences of state  prisoners, Gov. Jared Polis equated prisons  to college dormitories, which have been mostly emptied. “If anyone is looking to COVID-19 as an excuse to let dangerous criminals out, then they have the wrong governor,” he said at the May 8 news conference.

The El Paso County Criminal Justice Center was not included in the report. However, a spokesperson tells the Indy that the jail reduced its average daily population by 30 percent, or around 510 inmates, between February and May. 

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