In a move to relieve overcrowding at the Boulder County Jail, local officials are contemplating the construction of a new detention center that would house low-risk offenders only.
The move comes in an effort to address lack of space issues at the 30 year-old jail, located at 3200 Airport Road.
That facility, designed to hold no more than 287 inmates, has on occasion seen a population of around 400.
In 2014, M.J. Martin Inc., a private consulting firm based in Lincoln, Nebraska, recommended that Boulder County should build what is described as an alternative sentencing facility that would free space up in the regular jail, which also houses both violent offenders and those awaiting trial.
Now members of Boulder’s Board of County Commissioners say they are contemplating voting on a resolution that would put on this November’s ballot the question of extending a sales and use tax, revenues of which would go for the construction of the alternative sentencing building.
The 0.185 percent tax was originally approved by county voters four years ago and used to fund a series of flood-recovery projects and programs.
The tax extension would, as currently proposed, be in place for only 5 years, generating $10 million a year, beginning in 2020.
Revenues from the tax would not only pay for the new alternative sentencing facility, most likely to be built next to the current county jail, but would also fund upgrades designed to provide more space at the jail.
Commission members are expected to vote in August on whether or not to put the sales extension question on the fall ballot.
By Garry Boulard