Colorado prison cuts possible elsewhere |

Colorado prison cuts possible elsewhere

Kirk Mitchell
The Denver Post

Faulty projections about how much money the prisoner early-release plan could save may force Colorado to consider other budget-cutting measures, including slashing corrections programs and staff, officials say.

“It doesn’t appear to be working,” said state Rep. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs, referring to Gov. Bill Ritter’s plan to cut $19 million from the budget by releasing thousands of prisoners on parole up to six months early. “Their assumptions were bad, or something.”

Lambert, a member of the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee, said the issue should be addressed when the committee meets in November and December.

JBC chairwoman Sen. Moe Keller, D-Wheat Ridge, said the state may have to go back and make more cuts.

Following a report Wednesday in The Denver Post that showed a sex offender, a man convicted of vehicular homicide and a felon arrested 46 times were among the first 10 inmates given early releases, Republican lawmakers called on Ritter to end the program immediately.

On Thursday, the newspaper learned that Rick Martinez, 48, an inmate with a record of 46 arrests, absconded on Oct. 6 and a warrant for his arrest has been issued.

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