The Colorado Department of Corrections is asking the state to add $11 million to this year’s budget to lease a private prison while it attempts to reopen a closed prison in Cañon City.
Critics, however, say the state needs to look for options rather than pour money into more prison beds. They are especially concerned about the department’s plan to put general-population prisoners in Centennial Correctional Facility-South, a prison designed for solitary confinement.
Mark Fairbairn, a corrections department spokesman, said in an email that officials would not discuss their plans until an official request is made Wednesday to the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee.
However, The Denver Post obtained a copy of the department’s supplementary budget request that shows it wants $10.9 million to open a 250-bed private prison because of unexpected increase in the number of people being sent to prison.
The department would use the private prison while a $636,000 recreation yard is under construction at Centennial South, which also has been called Colorado State Penitentiary II in previous years.