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City of Pueblo proposing transfer of inmates to Las Animas County

Posted at 10:26 PM, Feb 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-12 00:57:53-05

PUEBLO – The Pueblo County Jail continues to be overcrowded and it’s no longer able to house municipal, or low-level, offenders.

The city is now turning to Las Animas County for help. The Pueblo County Jail is bursting at the seams with over 700 inmates on any given day. Currently, there are only 44 inmates at the Las Animas County Jail.

At Monday night’s city council meeting there was a first presentation for an ordinance approving an intergovernmental agreement, or IGA, with Las Animas County. It would provide housing services for Pueblo Municipal Court inmates at the Las Animas County Jail.

Pueblo resident Michael Nerenberg said, “The jail’s been overcrowded for years now and they need to decompress.”

Here are some of the highlights of this proposal:

  • Pueblo can ask Las Animas County to house its city inmates
  • Las Animas has the right to say no to certain inmates or immediately remove some if needed as well
  • Pueblo cannot send people that have significant mental or medical healthcare needs
  • The City of Pueblo will pay a daily rate of $55 per inmate
  • Las Animas can only take a max of 15 inmates at a time

Nerenberg said something needs to be done, but he’s not sure if this is a permanent fix.

“I’m not sure what’s going to be accomplished by doing that other than temporarily housing people elsewhere…there’s a lot of movement around the country and a lot of thought that maybe we should find other ways to not put people there.”

This isn’t the first IGA Pueblo has entered into. Something similar happened with Douglas and Park counties in 2017.

There will be a public hearing for this current ordinance on February 25.