GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. The Mesa County Jail makes it to the top 20 of a national Safety and Justice Challenge, bringing in a $150,000 grant for jail system improvements.
Keeping with the innovative spirit of Mesa County, the Criminal Justice Leadership Group responsible for the grant plans to expand sentencing and treatment options for its offenders.
According to Chief Deputy District Attorney, Dan Rubinstein, there are two major issues plaguing the western slope community when it comes to the jail system.
Municipal courts often have to pick between jail time and fines for criminals and have no substance abuse programs available to inmates after they leave the detention facility.
The purpose of the grant money is to put together a plan to keep people out of jail and help them avoid becoming repeat offenders.
“We always hope to have more options every offender is different, situation are different, what's going to motivate them to not continue to commit crimes is going to be different,” says Dan Rubinstein.
All seven members of the Criminal Justice Leadership Group were in Washington D.C. on Wednesday for the grant award ceremony.
The team includes probation and jail personnel, the District Attorney’s office, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, the Grand Junction Police Department, and state level officials.
Officials from the group say they will be using a large portion of the $150,000 to conduct research on the jail system issues for the next six to eight months.
The option for additional funding for the Macarthur Foundation is still on the table -- in 2016, 10 of the 20 finalists will be chosen to receive up to $4 million dollars to put reforms into action.