Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Here's a novel idea: Convert former prisons into Pot Facilities - A man in Colorado hopes to do just that

From ABCNews


Background:


Colorado, 1st to legalize recreational use of Marijuana, has had Medical Marijuana by Constitutional Amendment since November, 2000.  Unfortunately, Colorado still arrested 210,000 for possession of Marijuana between 1996 and 2010 - 108,000 were arrested after 2001.  Even after Colorado made Medical Marijuana legal in 2000, Marijuana arrests continued to grow in number annually to a peak of approximately 11,000 a year.  Since December, 2012,  when Amendment 64 went into effect, the average number of marijuana related arrests in Colorado dropped from 11,000 a year to only 4,000 in 2013. 

Colorado has refused, to date, to release those prisoners arrested and incarcerated for marijuana related charge's that would no longer be illegal under Amendment 64.  The state has, to date, no formal  treatment programs established to use as an alternative to prison for those arrested  on drug offenses.

High Plains Correctional Facility closed in 2010 after the state
takes the remaining inmates away from the Brush prison.
(Jesse Chaney/Brush News-Tribune)


Brush, Colorado, was the home of the infamous High Plains Correctional Facility.  In its lifetime, the installation has been 2 private prisons  - 1st, a private 180 bed facility for "Youth" offenders was closed by 1998 after losing its license for, among other reasons, "...female staffers who had sex with boys, physical and verbal and emotional abuse of inmates" and suicides; Next, established in 2003, as a private 272 bed facility for women, owned and operated by Texas-based Cornell Companies, Inc., until it closed its doors in 2010.

High Plains Correctional Facility for Women had a history of abuse and inappropriate behavior - staff on inmate sexual abuse; facilities not meeting required guidelines; issues with lack of proper training of staff; lack of treatment programs.  The standard  "for-profit" prison model.

When Brush, Colorado - a town with a population of about 5500, approximately 90 miles northeast of Denver, located on the high plains of eastern Colorado - found out the facility would close, they were concerned...Concerned about the $22,000 in revenue the town received annually from the operating prison and the 83 citizens who might be losing their jobs. These are significant losses for a small town in the midst of an economic downturn effecting the nation.

But one entrepreneurial citizen has come up with a novel idea to put the 22 acre property into use and bring assistance to the economy (KMGH 7News - Denver's ABC affiliate):





Bringing new meaning to the town's motto:  The City of Brush - Homegrown Happiness!

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