Mesa County, Colorado

Mesa County (Grand Junction), Colorado, is located on Colorado’s western slope, approximately 250 miles west of Denver. The County encompasses 3,300 square miles; 74% of that territory consists of public land. The population of Mesa County is estimated at 153,712. Mesa County historically is an agricultural area that is rapidly becoming urbanized.

The county’s court system constitutes the 21st Judicial District of Colorado, one of several single-county judicial districts in the state. The office of the Mesa County sheriff is an elected position that has responsibility for the county jail, work release, and work-ender programs. The average daily population of the jail is 360, with approximately 7,000 new bookings and releases each year. The Criminal Justice Services Department is a county department that is responsible for community corrections, day reporting, a county-managed treatment facility, and electronic home monitoring services. Probation and parole are both state-managed functions, managed by separate entities.

EBDM Stakeholders

Vision for EBDM

The EBDM executive committee’s vision is one less crime, one less victim, and one less offender to create a safer community through the use of principles and practices of reliable evidence-based decision making.

The Mesa County Criminal Justice Leadership Group (CJLG) consists of 17 agencies. It was formed in 2010 (just prior to the EBDM Initiative) for the purpose of collaboratively making system changes to address jail overcrowding. The CJLG has served as the sounding board and oversight committee for the EBDM executive committee.

The EBDM executive committee is composed of the following stakeholders:

  1. the chief judge
  2. county judges
  3. the deputy director of the Office of the Alternate Defense Counsel
  4. the director of the Office of the Public Defender
  5. the county sheriff
  6. the chief of probation
  7. the probation department supervisor
  8. the district attorney
  9. a deputy district attorney
  10. the director of the Mesa County Criminal Justice Services Department
  11. a judicial administrator
  12. a county data analyst
  13. the contracted local initiative coordinator
  • This initiative has more potential to reach the common goals of less crime, a stable jail population, less fear, and increased community satisfaction in the justice system than anything I’ve seen in this community in the last 25 years. – Sheriff Stan Hilkey

    A few years ago, we would not have seen an invitation to these types of meetings. Now we are present and fully involved. – Private defense attorney

Harm Reduction Goals

Mesa County’s harm reduction goals include the following:

  • By 2015, 75% of all offenders will not recidivate within 12 months of successful completion of one of the primary sentencing options.
  • By 2014, increase public safety by limiting pretrial misconduct of medium and high risk defendants to no more than a 5% failure to appear rate and a 20% new offense rate.
  • Within 36 months, reduce the amount spent on low risk defendants and offenders in primary sentencing options by 33% so that financial and program resources can be better utilized.

For more information on the effort in Mesa County, contact Sue Gormley at sgormley23@gmail.com.