The Mesa County Sheriff's Office, who operates the Alternative Sentencing Unit (ASU), has decided it's time to shut the unit down.

The unit was originally opened in August 2007 and since then has been used by over 1,500 people convicted of low level felony or misdemeanor crimes. The county Work Release program is part of the Alternative Sentencing Unit.

Mesa County Sheriff Matt Lewis said efforts to make better use of the ASU haven't worked as hoped, noting the unit continues to be underutilized.

Sheriff Lewis said the cost to operate the ASU exceeds its usage, so it isn't fiscally responsible for the Sheriff's Office to continue operating the unit.

With the closure, expected sometime this summer, the ASU is no longer accepting new clients.

Mesa County Sheriff's Office employees currently working at the ASU have been offered positions in the Detention Division upon closure of the unit.