Brigid Irish serves sentence at La Vista
The Brigid Irish criminal case was one of the most high profile legal sagas in recent Grand County history. The formal criminal proceedings concluded earlier this year in March after Irish was sentenced to a six-year prison term with the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC).
Irish is currently being held as a prisoner at the La Vista Correctional Facility, located in downtown Pueblo Colorado not far west of Interstate-25. The facility is a medium security prison that houses around 550 inmates, both male and female. The facility’s website states, “Many of the services within the institution are shared by both men and women.
Grand County Sheriff’s deputies transported Irish out of Grand County on March 21 following her sentencing hearing that was held on March 11. According to officials from the Grand County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) Irish, like all inmates who enter the administrative auspices of the CDOC, was transported to the state’s Diagnostic Unit (DU) in Denver before being moved to La Vista.
“The Diagnostic Unit kind of determines what kind of inmate they will be,” explained GCSO Public Information Officer Lt. Dan Mayer.
“They determine where they will send them. It is a transitional place. They go there and decide on special needs. All inmates in the DOC (Dept. of Corrections) go to county jail and then are sent to the DU.”
When Irish was sentenced on March 11 14th Judicial District Attorney Brett Barkey informed District Court Judge Mary Hoak he believed Irish would very likely be transferred out of the CDOC and into a Community Corrections facility shortly after in-processing with the CDOC. The DA’s office requested Irish be sentenced to serve an 18 month jail sentence in the Grand County Jail.
At the time Judge Hoak acknowledged Barkey’s viewpoint on the subject: “I cannot control the prison system and the Department of Corrections. I believe Mr. Barkey and what he tells me.” But added,” I have a hard time, as perhaps I should, with a DOC that takes a judges sentence and does what they will. I believe there is merit to a prison sentence in this manner.”
Irish’s sentence came after lengthy court proceedings in both County and District Court that lasted nearly two years from the time Irish first turned herself into authorities on May 6, 2014; the same a warrant was issued for her arrest. Irish was formerly an Administrative Assistant for the Grand County Building Department. Over the course of 10 years while working for the department Irish misappropriated roughly $515,000, much of it in the form of checks received from contracting firms for building permits.
The realization that funds were missing from the department’s accounts first occurred in late October 2013 when County Finance Director Scott Berger approached County Treasurer Christina Whitmer to confirm deposits from the building department. When Whitmer could not confirm the deposits she contacted other county officials and soon thereafter the GCSO began a criminal investigation into the incident. Irish was terminated from her position within the building department on Nov. 1, 2013.
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Grand County’s real estate transactions Jan. 17-23 were worth more than $8.4 million combined.