Senate Gives Final OK Colo. Budget, Votes To Keep Private Prison Open

Colorado's Senate approved a $27 billion state budget after heated debate over a last-minute allocation to keep open a privately-run prison in Burlington.

Republican budget-writer Sen. Kent Lambert successfully argued the $3 million will give Gov. John Hickenlooper time to negotiate with Corrections Corporation of America.

CCA runs the Kit Carson Correctional Center in Burlington. It says it needs the money to avoid closing the facility because the number of inmates there is dropping.

Lambert said Thursday a closure could devastate rural Burlington's economy. Democratic Sen. Morgan Carroll called it an 11th-hour bailout for a for-profit prison.

Senators approved the $3 million by a 24-10 vote and the fiscal year 2016-17 budget by a 29-5 vote.