Justice is Served

Denver’s new justice center won’t house women, or food-- for too long.

After the facility’s projected completion in 2010, men who are arrested will be detained at the new facility through the duration of their legal proceedings. Women, on the other hand, will only be housed at the new facility until after their initial court date, when it’s determined whether or not they will be kept in custody until their next day before a judge.

In cases of further detention, women will be sent out to the old jail on Smith Road to serve their time. Smith Road will also be the site where the majority of food preparation for both facilities will take place.

Although the majority of the cooking will still be done at the old facility, the new jail will house a room to both heat meals and plate individual meals. The facility will also keep on hand a few days' worth of non-perishable dishes in case weather keeps the fresh stuff from coming in. Keeping the kitchen functioning at the old facility may give the jail an opportunity to earn some revenue dishing its meals out to other institutions, according to Captain Frank Gale.

“The reason for [centralized food prep for the two facilities] is it’s more efficient, it’s more cost effective to prepare all the meals in one place and then all you have to do is take them out wherever you have officers or prisoners that have to be fed,” Gale said. “It’s meant to be empowering to the prisoners but also it’s a cost factor, it’s a situation now where you can offset certain costs by producing services.

In other words, after prisoners learn to cook on the inside, it may help them find jobs cooking on the outside, hopefully keeping them out of the jail’s kitchen in the future. -- Luke Turf

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Sean Cronin