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Officials to close part of Colorado State Penitentiary

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FOX31 Denver

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Colorado Dept. of Corrections plans to close a high security section of the State Penitentiary due in large part to a falling prison population.

316 high security beds in the South Tower of Centennial Correctional Facility in Canon City will close by February 1, 2013.

It’s the third year in a row that Colorado has seen a decline in the inmate population. The population drop accelerated dramatically this fiscal year. The average month decline is 131 offenders so far.

“When we encounter population changes of this magnitude, it is important to understand the factors driving the trend.  In the simplest terms, prison population is the number people that come into prison minus the number released,” says Tom Clements, Executive Director of the Department of Corrections.

“The population decline is attributed to several factors: crime rate; statute changes made by the General Assembly; an increase in parole releases; and enhanced parole supervision techniques. These factors equate to a more effective and efficient correctional system.”

A plan will be developed to reassign 213 employees to Department of Corrections positions within Fremont County.

A public meeting to discuss the closure is scheduled Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Co0rrections Training Academy, 2951 E. Highway 50 in Canon City.