Closure of Cheyenne Mountain Re-entry Center forces hundreds of inmates to relocate

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COLORADO SPRINGS — On Tuesday, the Department of Corrections received a 60-day notice from the GEO Corporation, stating the company’s intent to close the Cheyenne Mountain Re-entry Center (CMRC).

The news of this closure follows an announcement by Governor Jared Polis in November, detailing his plan to close the facility, and his reasoning behind it, in his 2020-2021 Budget Proposal.

Governor Polis said recidivism rates are highest among those who serve time in private prisons vs. state-operated prisons.

Polis’ proposal shows that the number of private prisons in Colorado outweighs the national average:

His budget intends to include “$9 million to close the private Cheyenne Mountain Re-entry Center by opening two towers in the state’s Centennial Correctional Facility-South.”

A spokesperson from the Governor’s office released a statement to FOX21 saying in part, “The Department of Corrections is developing a contingency plan. Although the short notice from the contractor is unwelcome, we are confident the Department has the tools to ensure there is a smooth transition.”

To read the full statement, click here.

The facility currently houses 642 residents and employs 180 employees.

GEO Group, the private company that owns CMRC, has released a statement saying in part:

“We will work with the DOC to develop a transition plan and prioritize the health, safety and well-being of CMRC staff and residents.”

In addition, a GEO spokesperson told FOX21 News, “GEO Care employees will be offered transition assistance, consistent with our corporate policies. Some staff may be candidates for employment at Department of Corrections facilities and we will work to help them identify such opportunities.”

The Department of Corrections also released a statement, saying in part:

“…part of the Governor’s budget proposal for this year was targeted at removing offenders from CMRC and re-distributing the current population to increase safety across our facilities. As part of that budget process, CDOC proposed phasing out offenders in the CMRC facility and re-opening two towers of Centennial South(CCF-S) in Canon City, in order to house additional offenders.”

It went on to say, “if the legislature does provide for the opening of CCF-S, the CDOC will eventually look to transfer close-custody offenders from other facilities to CCF-S, and use those vacated beds for medium-custody offenders impacted by the closing at CMRC.”

Click here for the Department of Corrections’ full statement.

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