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In Larimer County, Colorado, Repeat DUI Offenders May Get a Break

Sheriff Jim Alderden has set jail capacity for the Larimer County Sheriff's Detention Center at 460 inmates, though he has had a hard time sticking to that number. Since January, the population at county's jail has swelled to nearly 500 individuals - an unsustainable stretch on space and resources.

Sheriff Alderden's solution was this - take repeat DUI offenders out of the county jail and have them serve part of their sentences in the Alternative Sentencing Unit (ASU) building. The ASU is a less-secure, more lenient facility and inmates there are able to work during the day, though still required to either spend nights in custody or serve out their sentence on the weekends.

County judges will still be able to hand down more severe sentences, but have agreed to take the jail's limited space into consideration. Sheriff Alderden has tried for 12 months to shift the focus from prisoners being held on bond to actual convicted felons.

Currently, 40 percent of those held at the Larimer County Sheriff's Detention Center are pre-trial inmates.

Traditionally, the Alternative Sentencing Unit is overseen by the Larimer County sheriff. However, starting on June 1, Sheriff Alderden will be passing oversight responsibilities to Larimer County's director of criminal justice services, Gary Darling.

The hope is that, by restructuring leadership, the various detention centers will be better able to balance resources and inmate management. Darling also supervises Larimer County Community Corrections.

As for inmates with multiple DUIs, the county's resource shortage could provide the opportunity to get a fresh start a little sooner than planned.

Related Resources

  • Repeat DUI Offenders to Move Out of Jail (The Coloradoan)

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