Committee votes to close minimum-security prison in Cañon City to reduce costs – The Denver Post

COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado’s Joint Budget Committee voted to close a minimum-security men’s prison as a cost-saving measure following a reduction in the inmate population resulting from the coronavirus.

The Joint Budget Committee voted Tuesday to close the 252-bed Skyline Correctional Center in Cañon City in January, The Gazette reported.

The closure is expected to save $1.9 million in the state’s general fund in 2020-21 and nearly $5 million the following year, officials said.

The facility is one of four minimum-security prisons in Colorado.

The proposed closure is scheduled to be voted on as part of a budget bill when lawmakers reconvene next week.

Skyline’s 20 employees can transfer elsewhere within the Department of Corrections, likely to other Fremont County prisons, budget committee analyst Steve Allen said.

Democratic Gov. Jared Polis issued an executive order releasing about 1,140 inmates in the past two months to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among inmates and prison staff.

That action increased the number of available beds across the prison system. Skyline has 36 vacant beds, Allen said.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

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