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Arapahoe County approves measure asking voters to fund public safety programs, including new jail

New jail comes with estimated $462 million price tag
Posted at 8:48 PM, Aug 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-27 22:48:34-04

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. – The Arapahoe Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a ballot measure that will ask voters to approve a property tax increase that would fund important public safety programs, including the construction of a much-needed new jail.

Back in June, Denver7 reported about the failing infrastructure of the Arapahoe County Jail, built more than 30 years ago and only meant to house under 400 inmates.

Leaking ceilings, crumbling walls, and corroded pipes leading to constant sewage backups are just some of the problems the nearly 1,200 current inmates have to deal with on a daily basis.

The lack of space is also contributing to a dangerous environment for staff and inmates, as seen by the nearly 120% increase in inmate assault on deputies between 2016 and 2019.

Chief Vince Line with the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office also said at the time the jail had only 20 medical beds, eight cells for behavioral issues, and that the booking and release area was too small and too often over capacity.

"We have a total of 18 cells with 29 beds and that area frequently holds 70 to 80 inmates," he said, adding there’s no extra room for inmate resources like GED programs and mental health needs.

The ballot measure will be put to county voters this November.

The cost for a new jail will cost the county an estimated $462 million.