The Wrong Place to House 250 Felons on Work Release

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The Issue

The City of Lakewood, Jefferson County and a private developer are proposing to place a men's community corrections facility at 8th and Quail, just two blocks from the Eiber Neighborhood and three blocks from the Daniels Welchester neighborhood.

The facility will house 250 men who have been convicted of various felonies, including sex offenses, and are still serving their sentences. Each day, they leave the facility, unaccompanied and unsupervised. This is essentially a 250-person halfway house near two of the largest neighborhoods in Lakewood.

The men's facility would be just a few blocks from an existing women's community corrections facility that houses up to 140 inmates, also on work release. Nearby businesses report ongoing problems with trespassing, harassment of customers and trash caused by the inmates and the people who come to the area to meet them. So the city and county want to cluster nearly 400 felons in our community, giving us an unwanted and unfair reputation that will adversely impact property values and the area's ability to attract new businesses.

Lakewood and Jeffco have put this on fast track for approval and sneakily set up a process whereby no elected officials will need to vote for the project to proceed. The developer has filed for a Special Use Permit (SUP) with the City of Lakewood. On Sept. 2, the Lakewood Planning Commission, an unelected body, will decide the future of our community. Join the fight now!

Why this is a terrible idea

Where to begin?

This is the second time in two years Jeffco has tried to place the facility in our community. Neither the first time nor now has any formal study been done to determine the impact on our community. Jeffco commissioners, Lakewood city councilpeople and the developer all say "Just trust us. You won't even know it's there." Once the facility is built, it will be there for the next 50 to 100 years. What if they're wrong?

Impacts on private citizens

Right across the street from the proposed facility is the DDRC - the Developmentally Disabilities Resource Center. A block away is the Jeffco Public Health building, the Jeffco Juvenile Assessment Center and Arapahoe House, a family drug and alcohol rehab center. Mixing in 250 felons on work release with the clients visiting these facilities, all of whom are using the same public transportation, is a recipe for trouble.

The men's facility is adjacent to two proud and long-established neighborhoods - Eiber and Daniels Welchester - with more than 3,000 homes. These communities should not have to shoulder the burdens of hosting both the men's and women's facilities and the serious negative impacts they bring.

» See more about problems for our neighborhoods and visitors by clicking here.

Impacts on businesses

The problems for existing businesses and difficulties of attracting new businesses are clear. Already, one business near the existing women's facility has relocated. A second nearby business has its customers harassed and cursed. It's not just the inmates that cause issues, but their friends who come to the area and hang out nearby to meet up. And these problems are happening with only 60 inmates currently housed there. Imagine the problems of 250 men coming and going from one facility.

With the area economy on the rebound, now is the time to attract good businesses to the area. For companies wanting to attract customers and top-notch employees, having a cluster of two correctional facilities will be a major deterrent to that effort. Would you place your business in an area where 300 felons would be walking by every day?

» See more about problems for keeping and attracting businesses by clicking here.

Why Here?

As usual, it's all about money. The existing men's correctional facility has been in a building behind the JCRS Shopping Center (where Casa Bonita is located) for 35 years. But the city of Lakewood wants to revitalize the area to increase the tax base and cannot do so with the correctional facility there. Also, Jeffco owns the current building and can pocket a lot of money by selling it to developers. So the city and county want to move the problem to our neighborhoods.

Where should it go?

Community corrections provides an important service. The Jeffco campus in Golden - where the Taj Mahal is located - should be seriously considered. The sheriff's office is located there and the light rail station is vastly underutilized. Or break the program up into smaller facilities. Denver limits the size of most new community corrections facilities to no more than 40 or 60 residents, and never more than 120. Why does Lakewood have to take all of Jeffco's community corrections clients? How about Golden, Wheat Ridge and Arvada? This is a big decision. Before moving forward, the county should do a formal, public study to find the best location.

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Lakewood and Jeffco officials are trying to sneak this through without public input. Few people know this is happening. Everyone needs to know.

Email this website to your contacts. Click Here for the flyer, print out at least 10 copies and give them to your neighbors TODAY!

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Show of force

It will take people power and business power to stop this. There are three key meetings for you to attend and voice your opposition.

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Tell the Lakewood City Council and Planning Commission to stop this project. Click the link below to find out who to contact.

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Read the Documents

Click Here to go to the City of Lakewood website to see the documents related to this project.