6 Aurora prisoners released early due to jail disagreement with Adams County

From top left: Joan Harris, James Adkins, Lance Cunningham. Bottom from left: Norman Fred Adams Jr., Chivas Modispacher, Jazmine Scott.

From top left: Joan Harris, James Adkins, Lance Cunningham. Bottom from left: Norman Fred Adams Jr., Chivas Modispacher, Jazmine Scott.

AURORA, Colo. — Six convicted prisoners were released from jail on Monday because of a lack of space and a dispute with Adams County over an inmate cap.

They have criminal records including more than 100 arrests for crimes including child abuse, burglary and assault with a deadly weapon, Aurora police said.

“Not only is Aurora less safe, but they’re going to home communities and home communities are less safe,” said Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates.

The names of the prisoners were released Monday afternoon. They are Norman Fred Adams Jr., Chivas Modispacher, James Adkins, Joan Harris and Jazmine Scott.

Lance Cunningham was a sixth prisoner scheduled to be held in jail but bonded out on Monday.

(We are pulling the court records for the six offenders and will publish them when available to this story.)

All of them were convicted in Adams County and but were being held in the Denver County jail because Adams County has a cap on how many prisoners Aurora can send to its facility.

An Aurora city spokesman said they tried to find alternate arrangements for the six, but were unable to by the Monday deadline.

The Denver County jail has housed Aurora inmates for a fee after Adams County Sheriff Doug Darr started turning them away citing an inmate population cap implemented because of budget cuts.

However, Denver has decided to end the agreement citing overcrowding at it’s own facility.

The city of Aurora has filed a lawsuit against Adams County over the inmate cap claiming they cannot turn away inmates.

Darr has said that Aurora routinely sends petty criminals to the county jail, often on charges that, had they been filed in a state or county court, could not land someone in jail by law.

Those inmates then place a burden on the already overstaffed jail, Darr said.

In a statement on Monday, the sheriff’s department argued that “These offenders are the responsibility of the city of Aurora.”

“Regardless of what their criminal pasts might include, these six offenders are not serving sentences for serious or felonious crimes,” the statement said. “Unfortunately, inadequate staffing has resulted in a substantial safety issue.  The Sheriff’s Office will not further jeopardize the safety of its personnel or inmates to accommodate low-level, non-violent, municipal ordinance offenders, with the exception of municipal offenders authorized within the 30 cap approved by the county resolution.”

Aurora city leaders contend they send a small number of prisoners to Adams County, only about 5 percent of the county jail’s inmates, and that the sheriff needs to find other solutions to his crowding issues.