DENVER (CBS4) – The Colorado Legislature could ban the use of taxpayer dollars for private prisons as early as next year. A special committee created to address Colorado’s prison population voted this week to advance a bill that would require the state to divest from private prisons.

A total of 3,800 of the state’s nearly 18,000 inmates are in private prisons now.

“We don’t believe there should be a profit motive behind corrections or the criminal justice system altogether. Private facilities operate to make profit. We don’t believe that should be an activity in Colorado any longer. Human beings are not a commodity, and we have to divest from private prisons here in Colorado,” said State Rep. Lesley Herod, a Democrat who represents Denver.

The bill would move nearly 1,000 inmates in private prisons now to the Centennial Correctional Facility-South in Fremont County, which is currently unoccupied.

Opponents say the bill will hurt local communities who rely on private prisons for tax money and jobs.

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