State & Regional News

Tougher DUI law in Colorado boosting prison populations

DENVER - A new get-tough DUI law in Colorado is reversing a decline in prisons populations. That's according to state economists who project Colorado's spending obligations.

The 2015 law allows district attorneys to pursue felony cases, not just misdemeanors, against people accused of drunk driving. The law prompted more than 1,100 new felony DUI cases filed in state courts in its first year.

Economists say the DUI change could help boost prison populations by about 448 people, or .8 percent, over the next three years.

Another factor is population increase. Economists expect Colorado's overall population to rise about 5.5 percent by 2019, so a small rise in prison population is to be expected.

Colorado had about 20,000 people in state prisons in the summer of 2016.

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