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    PRISONER BED SPACE IN ADAMS COUNTY, COLORADO – A GROUP FACILITATOR’S SOLUTION PRISONER BED SPACE IN ADAMS COUNTY, COLORADO – A GROUP FACILITATOR’S SOLUTION

    PRISONER BED SPACE IN ADAMS COUNTY, COLORADO – A GROUP FACILITATOR’S SOLUTION

PRISONER BED SPACE IN ADAMS COUNTY, COLORADO – A GROUP FACILITATOR’S SOLUTION

Are there enough “beds” (meaning spaces for prisoners) in Adams County, Colorado?  The tough economic climate and resulting budget cutbacks have lead the Sheriff in Adams County to tell the nine cities and towns within the County’s borders that there is now a cap on the number of prisoners each of them will be able to house in the County jail at any one time.  Since the cap numbers are based on the populations of each city, some cities are facing the potential of releasing lawbreakers they would otherwise incarcerate.  One city, Federal Heights, only gets one bed (and its Police Chief says they need at least two).  This is distressing to all of the nine Police Chiefs in the County.

County officials say it is a matter of money and safety for them.  By law, the County is not required to house municipal prisoners, and it simply can no longer afford to safely house so many prisoners from the cities.  Besides, they have their own group of dangerous prisoners who require incarceration.  At first, it was only the Sheriff and the Police Chiefs facing off.  As the Sheriff has been turning away potential inmates, the County Commissioners have been drawn into the fray.  They express frustration with the situation, but what can they do?  My answer: They can at least suggest that the two sides stop pressuring each other in the press and sit down to try to collectively solve the problem.  To do that, they need a Group Facilitator.

As a Group Facilitator, I suggest the following to build a structure for resolution of this dispute:

  1. Call for the convening of a group of representatives of the affected local law enforcement entities and, where appropriate, […]
By |October 2nd, 2013|Group Facilitation Denver|Comments Off on PRISONER BED SPACE IN ADAMS COUNTY, COLORADO – A GROUP FACILITATOR’S SOLUTION

How does GROUP FACILITATION let every voice be heard?

Within any group, whether a non-profit board, a management group in a business or a government task force, there are a range of personalities and communication styles.  If a group of people meeting to make a decision or discuss a problem are left to their own devices, a few of the strongest personalities will dominate the conversation and roll over most of the others en route to a decision.  With only a small minority of the voices heard (and often the same old ideas and ways of thinking), bad decisions or decisions lacking in innovation can be made.  Even with a Group Facilitator present, these same folks will try to run the show.  However, there are techniques I have learned doing Group Facilitation for more than 25 years to let the strong personalities still have their say, while making sure that everyone else can participate, too.


As the neutral in charge of the group process, it is important not to directly shut down the dominant personalities.  This typically results in a direct confrontation between those people and the Group Facilitator (something to be studiously avoided).  I always acknowledge them and their ideas, but make sure, from the beginning, that they know that others will also speak.  At the first group meeting, the group approves ground rules that mention equal air time for all, respect for others and avoiding interruptions.  The ground rules are then posted so that I can later remind the group of them when they are later ignored (and they always will be).  I always use a flip chart to publically record everyone’s […]

By |July 16th, 2013|Group Facilitation Denver|Comments Off on How does GROUP FACILITATION let every voice be heard?