Feds Cutting Ties To Private Prisons But Colorado Will Continue Working With The Industry

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Photo: The Huerfano County Correctional Center
The Huerfano County Correctional Center in Walsenburg, Colorado is one of several private prisons in the state that have closed in recent years.

Colorado plans to continue its contracts with private prisons despite a recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice that it will phase out the use of private prison companies due to concerns about safety and security.

The Department of Justice pointed to a report by its inspector general that found a higher rate of assaults and other problems at privately run federal facilities. The department also said a decreasing number of inmates in federal prisons has reduced the need for private operators.

Colorado currently contracts with two private prison companies. Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America, runs the Bent County and Crowley County correctional facilities. Community Education Centers of New Jersey runs the Cheyenne Mountain Re-Entry Center.

The governor's office issued a statement saying it plans to maintain its relationships with both companies, adding that their performance is "under constant review and they are meeting the needs of the Department of Corrections."

Several of Colorado's privately run prisons have been shuttered in recent years, though the closures have been due to a declining prison population rather than safety concerns or other problems.