On Thursday, Governor Jared Polis signed two new executive orders to fight the coronavirus, one to limit COVID-19 in prisons and the other to extend the expiration dates of certain licenses and state documents.
“We will continue to take the bold steps necessary to limit the spread of this virus, including those to increase the comfort of Colorado residents who stay home. These new actions will ensure that Colorado residents can renew their licenses without going in person, "Governor Polis said in a press release." We are also taking steps to protect our guards and prison facilities today. For now, people need to stay home whenever possible to save lives. "
Executive order D 2020 016 refers to the "protocol for state prisons and community correction facilities," according to the statement.
The directives of the order include:
- The Colorado Department of Corrections may temporarily limit the number of prisoners it accepts, based on certain criteria, by keeping offenders in pre-transfer facilities.
- The DOC may grant "earned time credits,quot; to reduce the current prison population.
- Inmates who qualify may be referred to a "Special Needs Probation,quot; program.
- A daily subsistence payment of $ 17 will be suspended from community fix customers.
"The potential spread of COVID-19 in facilities and prisons represents a significant threat to
prisoners and staff working in facilities and prisons, as well as the communities to which
those incarcerated will return, ”the statement said.
The governor's order also requires that 650 beds be made available at the DOC's East Cañon complex, Cañon City, to "accommodate mixed-classification individuals for operational needs related to the COVID-19 outbreak."
Representative Leslie Herod, a Denver Democrat who has worked extensively on prison matters, supports the order.
“The Executive Order is a critical recognition that something must be done to contain COVID-19 in our prisons and community corrections. The virus will attack there, as it will all of our communities, and I am encouraged that the governor recognizes this fact and is taking important steps to contain its spread, "Herod said." This is vital and I support it. We must keep criminals out now. our correctional officers are safe and as healthy as possible. "
Dean Williams, CDOC executive director, also applauded and supported the order.
"This Executive Order of the Governor allows us to search for potential options for managing our prison population without jeopardizing security during this crisis," Williams said in a statement. "We will work diligently in the coming days and weeks to put the order's directives into practice in a thoughtful and measured manner."
Executive Order D 2020 15 authorizes certain state agencies to issue "emergency rules,quot; that extend the expiration dates of licenses and other documents due to coronaviruses. Their goal is "to limit renewals in person and allow state agencies to respond better to COVID-19," according to the statement.
Under the broad order, state park passes and health care facility licenses could be extended, as well as licenses for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program.
Many business licenses, including commercial drivers, manufacturers, importers, and retail liquors, will be eligible for relief under the order.
"The economic impacts of COVID-19 are significant and threaten to undermine the
Economic stability for many Colorado and local residents. The risk of contamination posed by
COVID-19 has required the closure of multiple businesses, "according to the order." Employers and employees in virtually every sector of the economy have been hard hit. We must take steps to shore up economic security, employment, community cohesion and community recovery ”.
Journalist Alex Burness contributed to this report.