Overcrowded Colorado jail schedules early inmate releases

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DENVER (AP) - A group of 31 inmates was scheduled to be released early from the Jefferson County Detention Center due to overcrowding at the jail, officials said.

A $5.5 million budget cut forced officials to close a floor of the facility in Golden Jan. 1, The Denver Post reported Sunday.

The early release set for Sunday was the first time since the floor closure that the jail has been forced to release inmates before completion of their full sentences, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

The jail’s closure of the seventh floor reduced the number of available beds from 1,392 to 1,148.

If the jail population rises above 1,171, some inmates must be released to prevent overcrowding, officials said.

The jail’s plan includes releasing qualifying inmates who have served at least half their sentences. Inmates with the highest percentage of their sentence completed will be released first, the sheriff’s office said.

Inmates who do not qualify for early release include those who must meet minimum sentences under state law and those whose sentences include directions from a judge to prevent early release.