The Boulder County has put a halt to its work release program and is working on moving those inmates to either electronic home monitoring or day reporting to help avoid spreading the new coronavirus in the jail.
Work release inmates typically leave the jail during daytime hours to report to their jobs or school before returning to the jail at night. But with the county trying to avoid an outbreak in the jail, work release inmates were kept at the jail starting March 16 to avoid having people coming in and out of the facility.
“Normally, offenders sentenced to work release are out in the community during the day and report to the jail at night,” Boulder District Attorney Michael Dougherty said. “So, these individuals are among the public for many hours of the day and then enter back into the jail. In an effort to reduce the spread of the virus between the jail and the community, Boulder County took the proactive step to suspend the work release program.”
Dougherty said his office has reviewed all of the work release cases and has been filing motions to get all of the inmates moved to either house arrest or to have them out in the community but reporting daily to a check-in facility.
“We have been filing motions to transition them to electronic home monitoring or day reporting, after a balancing of the virus and public safety concerns,” Dougherty said.
Boulder County sheriff’s Division Chief Jeff Goetz said he anticipates the jail will have set up all of the work release inmates with their new sentences by midweek.
“Those new sentences are starting to come through (Monday) morning,” Goetz said. “This population should be dealt with early this week.”
In addition, Goetz said defendants who were given alternative sentences but have not started serving them have been ordered not to report to the jail and will have their sentences “suspended until further notice.”
“This was done to keep people from potentially bringing the outside bug into the jail,” Goetz said.
The jail has already released some straight jail time inmates, and has also prohibited personal visits in an effort to prevent the virus from infecting inmates at the jail.