Larimer County Detention Center

200 W. Oak Street
Fort Collins, CO 80521
United States
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Larimer County Detention Center

The current Larimer Detention Center was opened in October of 1983 containing 152 secure jail beds. Since the original opening, the jail has had two expansions. The last completed in 2000, added 250 secure jail beds for a total of 557 jail beds.

The Larimer County Detention Center is the only jail within Larimer County and serves not only the Sheriff's Office but also Fort Collins, Loveland, Berthoud, Estes Park, a portion of Windsor, Colorado State University and the Colorado State Patrol. As all areas of the county continue to grow, the pressure on the jail also continues to grow. In October of 2004 the inmate population grew to over 570 inmates alarming many in the criminal justice system. Jails should not have more than 80% of their beds full at anyone time in order to properly classify inmates to ensure security and safety of staff and inmates. At the time 80% meant only about 446 inmates should be held in LCDC. Fifteen more inmates were being held in the LCDC than the 557 beds available.

It should also be noted that Larimer County has had and continues to have a very low incarceration rate compared to other agencies in Colorado and the United States because of alternative sanctions being used. The incarceration rate overall for the United States is 256 inmates in county jail for every 100,000 people, in Colorado it is 292 inmates in county jail for every 100,000 people. In Larimer County it is far below both averages at 179 inmates in jail for every 100,000 people in 2007.

As the inmate population continues to grow, adjustments have to be made. Even though Larimer County had developed some of the most progressive programs in the country, not enough was done to keep the jail population in check. A committee of individuals from all areas of the Larimer County justice community got together and worked to develop more alternatives to incarceration with the assistance of Criminal Justice Consultant, David Bennett. The committee made several recommendations to make changes in the criminal justice system along with changes in operations of the jail and other alternatives to incarceration being used. The following is a list of the adjustments made.

1. Expansion of Pretrial Services and the addition of Bond Commissioners to get people out on bond more quickly with supervision.
2. Elimination of unnecessary County Court return dates for felony cases.
3. An additional work program was added to the Alternative Sentencing Unit at LCDC.
4. The Sheriff rented an additional 20 Work Release beds from Community Corrections.
5. Early case resolution - the DA and Public Defender worked to resolve cases as quickly as possible.
6. Increase use of electronic home monitoring.
7. In some cases, those who violate probation are given a summons instead of being put into the jail.
8. Step down process in Alternative Sentencing which allowed those in Work Release to be released after serving 65% of their sentence.
9. With agreement from the courts, the Sheriff could release inmates from the jail after they had served 75% of their sentence if the inmate population is over 90% of capacity.
10. Several inmates in the jail were waiting for a bed in Community Corrections so an expansion of Larimer County Community Corrections was completed and the backlog of those inmates has subsided.
11. Implementation of a Jail Cap
12. Changes to the Administrative Order guiding Pretrial Services' Bond Commissioners when recommending bonds to allow the consideration of more bond types.

Even though modifications of the existing criminal justice resources have been implemented, the system is once again being strained and additional options are being reviewed.

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