Colorado officials recently announced that they will hold an early release program of 15 percent of inmates in its state prisons. Releasing these prisoners will help slash $320 million this year from the state budget. The program will release 3,500 of the 23,000 inmates over two years, saving the state about $45 million.
In addition, 2,600 parolees or 21 percent of those currently on parole will be released from intense supervision. Prisoners eligible for early release are those within six months of their mandatory release date. Parolees must have served at least half of their supervised term.
Thankfully, sex offenders do not qualify for this program but those who committed violent crimes will undergo a more rigorous review. The main goal of this program targets nonviolent offenders. Unfortunately, this program will put more of a heavier caseload on parole officers. In addition, because of the bad economy there will be more unemployment from this group of released prisoners.
It is very expensive to be on parole. Drug classes, drug screening and additional phone line if using an ankle bracelet on parolees, restitution, fines and fees add to the cost of paroling criminals. However, across the U.S. 23 states have slashed their prison budgets this year. Some of these states are spending money on reforms aimed at preventing repeat offenders.