GOLDEN, Colo. — The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office announced it would release additional inmates.
Forty-seven Jefferson County inmates will be freed Tuesday, released early as part of a plan to reduce the jail's population after budget cuts this year.
The sheriff's office said deputies will begin releasing the 47 inmates as early as Tuesday evening and should complete the early-release process before midnight.
Tuesday's announcement comes days after the sheriff's office released early 21 inmates from the Jefferson County Detention Facility Sunday evening.
A $5.5 million budget reduction for 2020 cut staffing and forced the sheriff's office to close the seventh floor of the jail this year, dropping the jail capacity from 1,392 beds to 1,148 beds, Sunday's release said. Under the reduction plan this year, when the jail population exceeds that capacity by 2%, the jail will begin releasing qualified inmates who have served at least 50% of their sentence.
Inmates sentenced to a statutory minimum sentence under state law won't be eligible for early release. Some inmates also may have a directive from a judge that prohibits emergency release.
In the news release, Sheriff Jeff Shrader said early release "undermines the authority of the judges and the authority of the court."
"Releasing inmates early, before they have completed their full sentence, is also not the message we want to send to criminals," Shrader said. "Unfortunately, it is the action we have to take to meet the budgetary constraints we are currently faced with, and to maintain a safe environment for those who are incarcerated and our employees who work in the jail."