Montrose County says it's had to deal with finding a facility to house mid level criminals who committed less serious crimes for quite some time. It hopes, however, that will change soon.
Leaders from the county office, law enforcement, and mental health have come together to build a new community corrections facility. They plan on constructing it adjacent to the county justice center.
"It accomplishes the real goal of the legislation," said Judge Jim Schum of the 7th Judicial District. "It will provide services, punishment, and treatment to offenders in their own community."
The community corrections board says the center would be used to make offenders work off their debts to society through community service. It would also provide classes and counseling to prepare them for their return to society.
The board says the center should not be viewed as an easy ticket to freedom for it's inmates. It says they will be under constant supervision and be put through a rigorous process.
"If they're not accountable for their time and for the completion of those tasks set before them, they're resentenced," said Probation Officer Carrol Warner of the 7th Judicial District. "They're sent back to the court for resentencing and they're sent to prison."
The center benefits more than just criminals. The Montrose County Sheriff's Office says it wastes deputy's time and funds transporting inmates to similar facilities hours away in Greeley and Colorado Springs.
It would also ease the burden on taxpayers.
"It's a lot cheaper," said Judge Schum. "It's drastically cheaper to sentence someone to community corrections than prison."
According to the county, it costs taxpayers $75.58 a day to keep one person in jail. It only costs $37.18 a day to send that same person to a community corrections center.
The board says the biggest payoff of all though, is watching those inmates become responsible citizens.
"The hope is to make that change," said Warner.
The county says it's important to keep members of the community involved in this project. Applications are currently being accepted from Montrose residents who wish to serve on the board. Interested citizens should call the Montrose County Justice Center for additional information.
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