Stop the Jail Expansion

Our community rallies against the expansion of the Larimer County Jail, July 7, 2019.

The Larimer County Commissioners will be voting on funding the proposed jail expansion on Tuesday, July 16. Their meeting begins at 9am, at 200 West Oak, Suite 2200. There will be opportunity for public comment — this is your chance to speak.

In mid-July, the Larimer County Commissioners will be deciding whether to expand the Larimer County Jail. If passed, this would cost well over $100 million, and would increase the capacity of the jail by several hundred people. This project has been hidden from the public view through the use of backhanded funding practices that do not require community input through a vote, community input or any community discussion. Read more here.

The Fort Collins Homeless Coalition supports improving conditions in the jail WITHOUT increasing the number of people incarcerated. We want our County to invest in community-based care, not more incarceration

In mid-July, the Larimer County Commissioners will be deciding whether to expand the Larimer County Jail. If passed, this would cost well over $100 million, and would increase the capacity of the jail by several hundred people. This project has been hidden from the public view through the use of backhanded funding practices that do not require community input through a vote, community input or any community discussion. Read more here.

The Fort Collins Homeless Coalition supports improving conditions in the jail WITHOUT increasing the number of people incarcerated. We want our County to invest in community-based care, not more incarceration

WRITE TO YOUR COUNTY COMMISSIONERS AND ASK THEM TO VOTE “NO” ON THE PROPOSED JAIL EXPANSION

John Kefalas
– jkefalas@larimer.org
– (970) 498-7001

Steve Johnson
– swjohnson@larimer.org
– (970) 498-7002

Tom Donnelly
– tdonnelly@larimer.org
– (970) 498-7003

Larimer County Does Not Need a Costly Jail Expansion

  • The majority of people incarcerated in Larimer County Jail have not been convicted of any crime. Rather, they are being detained because they cannot afford bail.
  • The number of people in county jails who have been convicted & sentenced to jail has actually decreased in the past 20 years. Today, local jails are filled with people who are legally innocent, marginalized, and overwhelmingly poor.
  • After an arrest — wrongful or not — a person’s ability to leave jail depends on money. Poorer Americans and people of color often can’t afford to come up with money for bail, leaving them stuck in jail. Meanwhile, wealthier people accused of the same crime can buy their freedom and return home.
  • In 2019, 40% of Americans are unable to cover a single $400 emergency expense…including money for bail.
  • In Colorado, factors such as being homeless can actually increase the amount of bail a person must pay. A bail assessment system adopted in 2013 (CPAT) includes several factors directly related to being poor; since 2013, the number of homeless people awaiting trial in Larimer County Jail has risen steadily as a direct result of this policy. We need to build affordable housing, not more jails.
  • Jail growth fuels cycles of marginalization, poverty, and incarceration, especially for women and communities of color. While awaiting trial, a person wealthy enough to afford bail is often able to return to work; those who are incarcerated often lose their jobs, housing and even their Social Security payments. Incarceration makes poor people poorer — costing them lost opportunities, damaged relationships, trauma, and economic setbacks.
  • Humanitarian improvements in the jail are important: Larimer County Jail needs refurbishments to bring the building up to safe, sanitary conditions. But incarcerating people unnecessarily in jail is costing the County millions of dollars and contributing to over-crowding; the proposed jail expansion will add over a hundred million dollars in taxpayer expenses. We can improve jail conditions without increasing the number of people incarcerated, but this plan is not the right way to do that.
  • Larimer County has recently (and democratically!) approved a ballot measure to fund behavioral health services. The County should be ensuring that treatment programs and alternative sentencing programs are implemented before committing to massive debt to fund to a jail expansion that is unnecessary, inhumane, and unwanted.
  • Education, jobs, and housing are a better use of County money, and would reduce incarceration while helping our community thrive.

Article from the Coloradoan: Larimer County Jail expanding to tackle overcrowding, but some question county’s methods

Link to FCHC’s handout, Responding to arguments about the jail expansion.

Link to sample letter to County Commissioners.