How Many Prisoners Will Go Free to Close the Budget Gap?

September 15 2009, 9:55 AM

Colorado Department of Corrections spokeswoman Katherine Sanguinetti admits she made a mistake when it came to reporting the number of prisoners eligible for early release under a plan meant to help shore up the state's $318 million budget gap, according to The Denver Post. In fact, officials underreported the number, meaning thousands more prisoners could be released. Moreover, the list of those eligible for release includes hundreds of violent offenders, even several killers, something corrections officials and Governor Bill Ritter promised would not occur. The numbers are vastly different than those reported by various news agencies about two weeks ago. 9News and The Associated Press reported 3,500 of the state's 23,000 inmates would be released over two years (Elevated Voices also highlighted those reports). Internal state documents, however, reveal 3,400 inmates could be released in the 2009-10 budget year alone, and another 2,928 could be let out the following year.