Federal Report: More Colorado Inmates In Private Prisons

The percentage of Colorado inmates incarcerated in private prisons rose dramatically in 2006, placing second only to Texas, according to recent statistics released from the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).BJS statistics (PDF) show inmates in privately run state and federal prisons increased by 12.5 percent in Colorado, from 4,039 in 2005 to 4,855 in 2006. Texas was the only state to have a higher growth rate, with 16.9 percent.

Colorado’s private prison population continues to increase steadily. BJS statistics show that number of inmates in privately run prisons has risen from 2,819 in 2004, to 4,855 in 2006, while the total inmate population in Colorado has grown from 20,293 in 2004 to 22,481 in 2006. In 2004, the BJS reported that 13.9 percent of the state’s inmates resided in privately run facilities. In 2005, the number grew to 18.8 percent, and the 2006, the number was 21.6 percent.

The private prison population also grew 5.4 percent nationally, according to the BJS report.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at erosa@www.coloradoindependent.com.

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