The average daily jail population in the Larimer County Jail in 1987 was 130 inmates. The average daily population moved within a narrow range until 1990 when the population reached 160. The population steadily increased over the next 15 years, reaching its peak in 2005 at 513 inmates. In 2003 criminal justice consultants predicted that if criminal justice processes did not change, the Larimer County Jail would need 683 beds in 2011.
Several changes were implemented to reverse the trend. These changes were the result of a collaborative effort across the criminal justice system (via the Criminal Justice Advisory Committee) and included: 1) administrative changes in the courts, 2) expansion of pretrial services, 3) expansion of alternative sentencing options, 4) mental health treatment, and 5) development of specialty courts.
In 2015, and again in 2016, the Average Daily Population increased substantially. While there is no silver bullet answer for this increase, main contributors are thought to include increases in new drug felony arrests and increases in homeless inmates, coupled with a significant pre-existing population with mental health and substance issues. Larimer County is primarily working to decrease the impact of this population via Goal 1 Objective 2 of the Strategic Plan which focuses on comprehensive mental health and substance abuse services.
The Criminal Justice Services Division will continue monitor and report on the status of the criminal justice system, identify and implement new treatment programs, advocate for legislation that meets the needs of our jurisdiction and continue to work with community partners to implement solutions aimed at reducing the impact, to prolong the need for jail expansion for as long as possible.