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, […]