State may close correctional center in Rifle |

State may close correctional center in Rifle

Heidi Rice
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

RIFLE, Colorado ” A proposed closure of the Rifle Correctional Center would mean the loss of 57 jobs in the area, although employees would be offered positions in other prisons around the state, according to the Department of Corrections.

The DOC will offer “funded vacant positions,” which means employees would be hired at their current classification level for jobs that are already budgeted and open to be filled.

“The first thing we look at is something within a 75-mile radius (of the current job location),” said Katherine Sanguinetti, public information officer for the DOC. “That’s the hard part about Rifle because we only have one facility in the Grand Junction area. It will be their choice if they want to relocate.”

Staff members will be asked where they would like to relocate to, which will be taken into consideration, Sanguinetti said.

The proposal to close RCC was announced at 1 p.m. on Tuesday by Gov. Bill Ritter as part of a plan to eliminate the state’s looming $1 billion budget shortfall.

“The proposal from Gov. Ritter goes to the Joint Budget Committee, who will review it, and it will then go to the full Legislature,” said Evan Dreyer, spokesperson for the governor’s office. “It’s a collaborative decision-making process between the governor and the Legislature.”

Dreyer estimated a final decision will be made within the next couple of months.

Closing the correctional center will reduce DOC operating costs by an estimated $606,021, along with revenue gained from the sale of the property.

Although the proposal is not yet set in stone, DOC officials are already making plans for a transition of RCC’s 190 inmates.

“They’ll be moved throughout the (state prisons),” Sanguinetti said. “We (release) about 75 people per month, so we can easily absorb the Rifle population.”

Ritter has also recommended closing the Colorado Women’s Correctional Facility in Canon City.

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