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Work begins on Boulder County’s Alternative Sentencing Facility

The $35.6 million project aims to keep low risk offenders out of jail beds and enable better outcomes.
Former Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle, Boulder County Commissioner Marta Loachamin, Boulder County Community Services Division Manager Monica Rotner, Boulder County Sheriff Curtis Johnson, Boulder County Commissioner Claire Levy and Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty pose for the groundbreaking of the Alternative Sentencing Facility on Friday in Boulder.

Boulder County broke the ground on the long awaited Alternative Sentencing Facility on Friday at Airport Road in Boulder.

The $35.6 million project will sit on the same lot as the Boulder County Jail and mirror other alternative sentencing facilities, providing programming for up to 252 offenders who have been sentenced to one of the county’s community-based sentencing programs.

“In Boulder County, we are working hard to improve community safety — including by reducing the likelihood of re-offense,” District Attorney Michael Dougherty said in a release. “For too long, Colorado has lagged behind other states in the successful rehabilitation of offenders and community safety suffers as a result. Thanks to the support of Boulder County community members, the Alternative Sentencing Facility is a great step forward in targeting and addressing the underlying needs of offenders and better preparing them for a successful transition back to the community.”

The 55,626-square-foot building will also have community-based classrooms, day rooms and support spaces when complete. The project is expected to take 18 months.

The Alternative Sentencing Facility comes from the extension of an existing 0.185% sales tax that Boulder County voters chose to extend for another five years in November 2018. The dollars from that measure have all gone toward the construction of an Alternative Sentencing Facility and providing expanded alternative sentencing and offender management programs to keep low risk offenders out of jail beds and enable better outcomes.

The Alternative Sentencing Facility is a community-based, minimum security residential facility. The type of programs it will offer allows offenders to serve sentences in a less restrictive structure than a traditional jail or prison and can be residential or non-residential in nature.

“This innovative new facility is the next step in realizing our commitment to shift to a behavioral health focus for low-risk justice-involved individuals, supervise offenders in the least restrictive environment that is consistent with public safety and remove for-profit corporations from our criminal justice system,” County Commissioner Claire Levy said. “This facility will contribute to making Boulder County a leader in providing a more rehabilitative and therapeutic approach to successful community re-entry.”