The Boulder County jail has reached full capacity for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
About 412 people are currently incarcerated or detained in the 543-bed facility off Airport Road, according to the most recently available state data. That’s the most since Jan. 1, 2020.
The numbers are rising in part because police are arresting people again for more minor charges. For much of the pandemic, Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle prohibited police from jailing people for low-level crimes in order to drive down the jail population and prevent coronavirus outbreaks.
On July 4, 2022, with cases trending down in the county and a growing acceptance that Covid is here to stay, Pelle signed off on new incarceration standards that removed restrictions on detaining people.
People who were issued multiple summons in the past two years, but who never showed up to court, are now being arrested and booked into jail.
“Because of the backlog in the system, we’re going to be catching up for a while,” Pelle said in an interview.